He Doesn't Feel Like The Right Guy For Me, But I Don't Want To Break His Heart.

Let me first describe our relationship: My boyfriend and I have been dating for about nine months now, minus the time that he was away at a different university (but he's come back home almost every weekend). We met several years ago, when I traveled within his circle of friends, and he was always kind to me, despite being painfully shy. I finally asked him out one summer, after another "accidental" date (I was the only other person to show up when we tried getting together as a group). But he sent me all the wrong signals (being too timid to touch me, speak casually, or look me in the eye), so I gently broke it off after two weeks. We went our seperate ways, but stayed in touch. Last summer, he seemed a lot more open and comfortable with me, so I offered to try a relationship again. He was ecstatic (and slightly drunk), but ten times more comfortable and affectionate around me afterwards. I guess that he finally matured and came out of his shell a little. For a while, we were really happy together. We seemed to understand each other well as introverts and--well, as virgins. The relationship felt new and exciting and we loved each other.

Then the "honeymoon" phase wore off. I was so excited to be dating (my first serious relationship), and he really is a gentleman, but I've started to notice some problems. As sweet as my boyfriend is, he has a lot of qualities that I can't help but find frustrating, and I don't even know if I was ever truly attracted to him:

-He was never exactly my type physically. It seems terribly shallow of me, but I have never been very turned on when we do anything sexual. I've put off having actual sex because I told him that I was afraid of it being painful. I'm actually afraid that I wouldn't be able to enjoy it. He's not terrible looking, but he isn't very passionate, and he doesn't have very good control. He gets embarrassed so easily, and it sinks the mood even further. He also has a tendency to "leave me hanging." This was the first problem.

-He has very different religious and moral beliefs, which I can accept but not ignore. He is always concerned about defining his religious affiliation, while I am completely non-religious. He brings it up often, even though it makes me uncomfortable. He has certain ideas about propriety, and is so sensitive about my virtue that it makes me feel ashamed; he's always suggesting that I should close the blinds when we make out, or be more embarrassed when I spend the night. He felt horribly guilty for ************, and "confessed" to me a week after it happened. I'm slightly feminist, and more sexually aware, so I find this all very awkward. This was the second problem.

-He doesn't challenge me intellectually. I never cared that he was a slow learner or less academically-inclined than I am. I even found it cute that he was more socially awkward. But it's getting on my nerves for reasons that I've only just come to accept. He can't spell at all, and butchers his grammar while speaking (I'm an English major, so this is painful). He's afraid to speak up when we go out in public, and I often have to lead him around or take charge in a situation. He's struggling with the bare minimum number of classes each semester, and needs to plan out his study schedule to the hour. He's so absent-minded that I have to remind him of everything. Worst of all, he reminds me of my little brother, who is autistic. My mom pointed it out, and he behaves very much like my brother sometimes (speech and social difficulties, obsessive compulsiveness, tactile sensitivity). I don't mean to be judgemental or cruel, but I've spent years holding myself back to take care of my brother (and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life). I don't know if I can deal with that in a boyfriend. I need an equal for emotional and mental support. This was the third problem.

-My boyfriend is immature and irresponsible. We are both adults (21 and 23 years old--I'm the older one), and it's time to start thinking about our futures. I already have a bachelor's degree, and will be going for my master's in the fall. I live with my parents, but work at least two jobs year-round. I control my own finances, and am constantly planning for life after college. My boyfriend, on the other hand, complains about the way his parents support him, but won't show any indepence. He's wallowing in student loans, but is not prepared to pay them back. He's about to graduate without any real skills or experience. He's only worked as a grocery bagger, and just quit his job to spend the summer reading and playing video games. He insists on paying for our dates like a gentleman, but doesn't actually have any money (his parents pay, and often push him to take me out). I am incredibly stressed out about my future, and I can't help snapping at him when he doesn't show any understanding or concern for himself. I don't want him to have any regrets when he graduates next spring, but I can't keep pressuring him to make a change. This is the last problem.

Our relationship has definitely evolved and slowed down from the hormonal stage, but it hasn't leveled out into easy compatibility. I'm taking it more seriously now, and I don't think we're a good match. I've been trying to break things down gradually to him. At first I wanted to fix our differences (and we've had enough issues lately for him to notice). But I've realized that I don't want it to "work." I'm tired of forcing myself to accept the "little" things and settle for a generally sweet and sensitive guy. I like him so much as a friend, but I really can't love him anymore, and I don't know how to end it between us. He still thinks that I'm upset over something which hurt my feelings weeks ago--but it just made me realize that we don't understand each other. I can end it now and feel nothing but relief, but I think it will really hurt him. I'm his first relationship, and he's so self-conscious, that I don't know how to break it off without breaking his heart. He's so gentle and passive about everything, that he might just take it without showing me how he really feels.

bookwyrmed bookwyrmed
22-25, F
May 11, 2012