Should Break Up with My Boyfriend Because I Don’t See Myself Marrying Him?

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a childcare worker in my late 20s. I have been in a relationship for about six months with a man who is two years older than I am. He is someone who has a positive outlook on life and cares deeply about me. I have learned a lot from him.

However, I cannot think of marrying him right now, because I feel we have different values. He has a clear dream of the future and I don’t think marriage is on his mind yet.

I think it is better to break up with him if he is someone I can’t think of marrying. I am aware that, because I am impatient to get married, marriage is the goal. My mother told me, “You don’t have to rush for an answer right way. Rather, take your time and see what happens.”

I know in my mind that “life is what it will be.” However, I wonder if I should choose to leave him if I don’t feel like getting married, even if I love him. Should I take my time and wait until the answer comes naturally?

— Y, Tokyo

Dear Ms. Y

I read your letter, and frankly, I think you are not taking life seriously. Relationships are not that simple.

You think that this man is a good person, but not the right one to marry. So you’re trying to decide if you should leave him now or postpone breaking up for a little while longer. However, life doesn’t always match up with what you have in mind.

When emotions are involved, relationships become complicated and puzzling. You cannot cleanly cut them like yokan red bean jelly. The cut is uneven and jagged. In other words, both of you will get hurt.

You are considering whether or not to break up with him only because it works for you, but what works for him is different.

Even if you tell him you want to break up, he may disagree. If worse comes to worse, he may even start stalking you.

Consider this point carefully and rebuild your relationship with him.

If you eventually plan to break up with him, I recommend that you start preparing for that now.

Give him a heads up with signs that you want to break up, like going on fewer dates, replying to fewer emails, etc., so that he can mentally prepare himself for this.

I wish you a happy and prosperous life.

— Eiko Yamaguchi, writer