Dear Alice,

I have a problem with my girlfriend of one year. She feels more than I do in our relationship and thus has decided that she needs to break off our relationship. I feel very comfortable with the relationship but I understand that to be supportive I must do everything I can to make her happy. I know it's not my responsibility, but as her boyfriend I want her to be happy regardless. If she tells me to leave, I know I must, but what do I do about our relationship after that? How do I react to this situation?

Signed,
Concerned

Dear Concerned,

It seems as though you’re happy to stay in the relationship, but your girlfriend thinks otherwise — which can be a touch situation for both of you. In relationships, those involved have wants and needs that they hope will be met by their partner(s). However, those individuals may not always be on the same page about these wants and needs. If one member decides it's over, then by definition, it's over. If your girlfriend hasn’t broken it off already, you might try to talk with her about how you’re feeling in the hopes of salvaging the relationship, if that’s what you want.

In the event your girlfriend is willing to talk about the relationship or willing to try to work things out, you might try getting some clarity about what it is that she wants but feels she isn’t getting. It might also be wise to reflect on your own wants and needs: How do you feel about her? Are you holding on to the relationship because you’re comfortable or because you care for her? Are you getting what you want and need from the relationship? If you feel content, it may be worth expressing to her what about the relationship, and what about her, makes you happy. If you feel strongly that you'd like to try to provide whatever is missing in the relationship, consider expressing this to her as well.

People differ on how much commitment they want to offer, how quickly they want the relationship to progress, how intimate they want to be physically and emotionally, how they want to communicate, and many other aspects of being in a relationship. So, when these needs and wants come into conflict, a person must decide if it makes the most sense to try to work it out, or to call it quits. This isn't easy, but ultimately, it’s better for those involved if an unhappy person walks away from a relationship rather than stay in one that's not working.

If after having this conversation, one or both of you decide to part ways, check out the Moving On category in the Go Ask Alice! Relationships archives for some thoughts on how to handle your heartache.

Best of luck to you,

Alice!

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