Q. Dear Meredith,
I think I’m losing my boyfriend.
We’ve been together for about three years now. He helped me get out of my last relationship and I slowly started to fall for him. We had such a close relationship at first; we couldn’t stand not seeing each other, and we were always intimate. He’s loved me more and treated me better than anyone else ever has. We planned our future together. As time went on, we moved in together and adopted pets.
Lately, we’ve been fighting and I’ve said some pretty mean things he never deserved to hear. I’ve apologized and have tried my hardest to make things right. Recently he expressed that he is unhappy in our relationship and isn’t sure what to do to repair us — or if we’re worth repairing. He’s also said he holds grudges but does not want to talk about whatever ones he’s holding against me. We’re stuck in a lease for the next two months and I feel as though he’s going to leave me when it’s up. I’m not sure what to do as he is not one to express his feelings. All I want is for him to be happy, and I’d love to be part of his happiness. What do I do?
— Lost and Confused
A. It’s time to bring up the most practical (and uncomfortable) issue — that the end of the lease has started to feel like a relationship deadline. If you’re going to break up, you need to start looking for new housing. And if you’re going to sign that lease again, you need to know why.
I love your second-to-last sentence, the one that prioritizes your boyfriend’s happiness. I hope you’ve told him as much. When you talk about the lease, you can also let him know what happiness looks like to you. You want to fight less and to be kind. You want to make it possible for him to let go of those grudges. You’re willing to do whatever work is necessary. Is he?
You can ask him if he’d consider counseling. It might help to go, especially if he has trouble talking about feelings. Please know that if he’d rather not discuss any of this, he might not be the right kind of partner for you. You want someone who can have difficult conversations and work through the worst of it. — Meredith
Your lease is up in eight short weeks! Come out and ask “What are we doing when the lease ends?” You are an adult. Have an adult conversation. THENURSE
I won’t say “I told you so,” but this is precisely why I (and legions of previous generations) advise against moving in together without a ring or serious commitment. STILETTOSONCOBBLESTONE
Without the context of him rescuing you from your previous relationship, the two of you have lost your reason for being together, and you have discovered you are actually incompatible. It happens. HEYITHINK
I have little sympathy for people who throw hateful comments at their partners. If he’s done with you, learn from this. SEENITTOO
Tell your boyfriend that you’re going to move out at the end of the lease. It may be the end of your relationship. It may not. Either way, you’re in charge of your future. HARRISBLACKWOODSTONE