Q. I am 23 and from a small town. I am currently dating and living with my 24-year-old boyfriend on his family farm. We have been together three years.
It has been a great relationship and he has been nothing but the best, which is a big change from my previous relationships. But I have noticed that lately, the last couple months or so, I can’t shake the feeling that I no longer want the life I’ve chosen. You see, the farm we live on is all my boyfriend will ever want — and it is amazing.
But recently I just have been feeling like it isn’t what I want for myself. Months ago, we went to visit my friend in another state, and honestly, ever since then, it’s where I’ve wanted to be. So my question is: How do I break up with the most amazing person that I still love, because I want something different?
A. All you have to do is say the words. I know it’s not easy.
My advice, though, is to tell him soon. Why? Because being on the bad end of a breakup can be that much more baffling when the breaker-upper has already processed the decision, grieved the loss, and moved on. That happens a lot, I think. Someone makes a decision, over a long stretch of time, to end their relationship, but they don’t tell the other person until the last minute. Then, when the truth finally comes out, the other person didn’t see anything coming.
It’s going to be a shock no matter what (assuming you’ve made some commitment to stay on that farm), but that’s why it helps to get it all out there. Tell him what you told us: He’s wonderful and the farm is beautiful, but after your visit to see your friend, you know that this living situation is no longer right for you. Explain that it’s been difficult to admit to yourself, but you know it’s true.
Maybe the breakup becomes mutual at that point. He probably wants a partner who’s enthusiastic about his life.
Please know that you won’t be walking away from the only great significant other in the world. Now you know what it’s like to be in a relationship that makes you happy. It’s an experience you’ll carry with you.
A fantastic man should have someone who is all in. As much as you love and appreciate him, this is not you. Wanting a different life is not wrong, it’s just different. You owe it to yourself and him to have a frank and loving conversation about your different paths with him as soon as possible.
Ask him to move with you, first. His answer might surprise you. But if he’s unwilling to move, as you think he will be, then break up with him.
He might surprise you and offer to move with you. So think about whether it’s really just the farm or whether it’s him.
Please make sure you have a good solid plan in place before you leap.
Upending your entire life based on one vacation seems very immature — wouldn’t it make sense to plan a few more visits first? I know everyone here will say “you go, girl!” and “follow your dreams,” but if you really love this man you better make sure that whatever you’re chasing after is worth losing him.
You have the gift of knowing what you don’t want and what you’d like to pursue — take the gift! I do understand your angst about your boyfriend — you’re a compassionate person — but you’re not responsible for his happiness. He will survive.
Slip out the back, Jack.
^Get off the bus, Gus!
“I am breaking up with you because I no longer wish to live on a farm for the rest of my life.” You’re welcome.
^That ought to do it.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.