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Esedess's avatar

How do you break up with someone who is completely in love with you?

Asked by Esedess (3464points) February 3rd, 2012

It’s been complicated from the get go (too much to explain). Now about 3 years later things have finally settled down to where we can just enjoy each other. However, as much as I like and enjoy having her around (and I DO), I’ve never felt “in love” with her.
I ended my last relationship too hastily, resulting in a lot of unanswered questions, regret, and subsequent (and continued) doubting my own thoughts on such matters. To make matters worse, if I ask myself if I want her around, the answer is yes. But if I ask myself if I want to date her, the answer is I don’t know/maybe/I don’t think so/yes/no/I have no idea… and there in lies the problem. All my friends tell me I should break up with her because she’s completely infatuated/in love with me and I’m not with her. But, how do/can you dump someone who truly loves you unconditionally, who hasn’t wronged you in any way, and who is fun/nice to be around, but whom YOU (for some reason?) just aren’t in love with?

On a side note, could it be that my not being in love with her is merely a matter of something like me being overly picky and just not letting myself?

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35 Answers

Coloma's avatar

You do the right thing because allowing someone else to love someone that does not feel the same is dishonest and unkind. Period. End of story.
Love IS a CHOICE, it is not just based on emotion. All relationships should be re-evaluated on a regular basis to determine if they are still meeting the needs and desires of those involved.
This goes for friendships, work, romantic interests.

It is selfish of you to continue to use this girl if you are unclear about your feelings.
You’ll be doing her a favor by freeing her to find someone that will return her feelings 100% equally. It’s not your fault you are not feeling in love with her, this doesn’t make you bad or wrong, but it is your responsibility to not play games and be straight with the girl.
It’s going to hurt her a lot more if you drag it out for weeks, months, maybe years….time to man up kiddo.

Blondesjon's avatar

You should take a cue from Beth.

6rant6's avatar

@Coloma I have to disagree. The idea that couples love each other equally is a myth. Attraction and love rise and fall over the course of a relationship. Even if on day one you feel the same, you won’t a year later.

The idea that because there is a disparity in feelings – or even worse because your friends are giving you advice – you should break up with her is silly. You enjoy her company, and she yours. You could easily free her to look for someone else and have that thwarted by her persistent feelings toward you. Be good to her, that’s all. Honor what commitments you’ve made, and don’t make any that you can make in good conscience.

In time, things will change.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

The classic way:

Rick: Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I’ve done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing: you’re getting on that plane with Victor where you belong.
Ilsa: But, Richard, no, I… I…
Rick: Now, you’ve got to listen to me! You have any idea what you’d have to look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten, we’d both wind up in a concentration camp. Isn’t that true, Louie?
Captain Renault: I’m afraid Major Strasser would insist.
Ilsa: You’re saying this only to make me go.
Rick: I’m saying it because it’s true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.
Rick: And you never will. But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.
[Ilsa lowers her head and begins to cry]
Rick: Now, now…
[Rick gently places his hand under her chin and raises it so their eyes meet]
Rick: Here’s looking at you kid.

deni's avatar

Okay, have you told her this? Do you pretend to be in love with her? Does she think you’re in love with her? Or is it plain to see that you aren’t? If you haven’t talked to her about it, you probably should..

I think a big thing in long relationships is you stop being excited to see the person, or it becomes mundane. You don’t particularly enjoy their presence anymore. But this is not the case with you. It sounds like things are good, you’re just worried that you don’t love her enough? But you do love her right? You just don’t feel in love?

marinelife's avatar

You dump her by thinking about her. About how she deserves a man who really loves her.

Then how do you do it? Honestly. Cleanly. Quickly. Leaving her with no doubt about how you feel.

Coloma's avatar


I agree, things are ever changing, but…if one is doubting their feelings for more than a short period of time, well..time to take inventory and re-evaluate. Ya know, lots of relationships linger in some sort of limbo land for YEARS because people fear change, letting go, having the courage to admit their true feelings, or lack of them.
I don’t believe in stradling fences for long periods of time. If one has to question the depth of their love, well…time to get really clear within.
Ho hum relationships that linger in some lukewarm zone for years at a time are depriving all parties of what they deserve.

It’s about “settling”, and while all relationships have their ebbs and flow, one should not linger at low tide for long, worse yet, they should not allow another to believe they care more than they really do. That is not a healthy relationship that is dynamic and growth oriented, it is a beached and deflated raft of comfort and conveniance, not love.
If you have to talk yourself into staying with someone it is time to rethink things.

Esedess's avatar

@deni Yes, I’ve told her this. I even broke up with her a while back. Then, eventually, caved to her persistence. She doesn’t think I’m in love with her. It’s very clear, and I continually make sure of that for fear of misleading her… I may be bad at ending relationships, but I am completely honest and open about my thoughts none-the-less. I haven’t brought this matter up in a while because, at this point, it hardly seems worth talking about unless I have a sure answer to contribute.
Yes, you’re right, I do love her; but I’m not in love with her. And I’m always careful to never say, “I love you” because she would most likely take it as the latter.

Coloma's avatar

@Esedess So really, you are both codependent on each other for whatever reasons. She is addicted to someone whom is with her but not REALLY with her, doesn’t say he loves her, because he doesn’t feel he does, and…you’re together why?

deni's avatar

So you never tell her you love her? And that doesn’t bother her? That would for sure bother me A LOT.

Esedess's avatar

1) History has taught me to take up extreme consideration, even to the point of entirely not trusting my own feelings, on matters of this nature.
2) We enjoy each others’ company 90% of the time.
3) We get along better than most couples I know.
4) etc… etc…

In short, everything is pretty good except for the whole love aspect… and I don’t know which is more shortsighted/foolish:
To give up someone you legitimately like because you’re not in love.
Or, to stay with someone you legitimately like when you’re not in love.

EverRose11's avatar

Be honest and humble in explaining how you feel she needs someone deserving of her love.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

In my case really f***ing badly. I hurt her so bad she still can’t be in the same room as me. I just broke it off and said we’re done. I wish I had been much more gentle. She found someone else and seems happy, but I hate I caused someone else that much pain.

Bellatrix's avatar

Gently. Remember you are dealing with someone’s heart. In saying that, I agree with @Coloma that if you are not really into this person, you need to let them go. You may think that by hanging on you are protecting them but you are just delaying the inevitable. While she is with you, she isn’t available for the person who may love her as much as she loves you.

Be honest and straight with her. Don’t be cruel but don’t avoid being truthful with her. I would also suggest making a pretty clean break of it. Don’t keep going back in to the situation. You just prolong her pain. Let it go completely and no matter whether you miss her, or she begs you, don’t keep it limping along as ‘just friends’. Let her hurt and then heal.

Esedess's avatar

@deni No, I don’t. As far as it bothering her… Yea, I’m sure it does. Of course anyone would rather the person they loved, love them back. But we both know where we stand, so we don’t spend our time pushing the matter. Basically we just blissfully ignore the fact because she knows if it came up I wouldn’t give her the answer she wanted, and likewise for me, I know I couldn’t give her the answer she wanted.

The conversation has come up here and there, and it always consists of her telling me something like, “I don’t care if you do or not, it doesn’t change how I feel… You already know that I’ve loved you basically since the first time we met… So yea… That’s what I have to say about that. ^_^ ”
Then I look at her and sarcastically say something like, “yea~ but just cause I’m perfect!” or “you’re smothering me”. She tells me to shut up. We laugh, she dies a little inside, and we continue our night.

lol (the “she dies a little inside” part is for comedic value BTW)

auhsojsa's avatar

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

Esedess's avatar

“It’s not you, it’s me… I just don’t love you. But don’t worry, I’m sure there’s someone out there who I will love like you wish I would you.”


Bellatrix's avatar

Don’t do the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ thing. It is so hackneyed. And she knows it’s her. If you loved HER and were totally into HER, you wouldn’t be wanting to break it off. I think such a line is a cop out.

Tell the truth but kindly. Why isn’t it working for you? If, despite you trying, she just isn’t the right person for you that doesn’t mean she is a bad person, it means she isn’t right for you. End of story. Even if you don’t know who is ‘right’ for you, you know enough to know it isn’t her and you are both coasting along, not facing the truth and ‘settling’ because it is easier than looking for whoever you do really want to be with.

Coloma's avatar

Poor woman…why don’t you just show her this Q.?

I broke my own mostly staunch rule of not answering dysfunctional relationship questions, so thanks…I needed a reminder of why I don’t do these Q’s 98.5 percent of the time, because they are fruitless head banging gestures. lol

Bellatrix's avatar

Mind you @Coloma, I remember there was another question recently about how we would feel if a person close to us asked a question on Fluther about a problem we were having? I seem to recall the consensus was many people would be pretty cranky about the topic being discussed with strangers.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

”...someone who truly loves you unconditionally…”

If that is true, then she won’t mind you skipping around on her. She won’t even mind if you leave her forever. If that’s what you want, then her unconditional love should allow you to be you.

“Love is the ability and willingness to let those that you care for do what they want without any insistence that they satisfy you”.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, Eroneous Zones

Coloma's avatar

@Bellatrix True, that. I was being sarcastic.

AshLeigh's avatar

You have to tell her the truth. She deserves someone who will love her. Everyone does.
Being in a relationship that you know isn’t leading anywhere is only holding both of you back from finding something real.
It’s going to hurt her, but you have to…

deni's avatar

I can’t really get over why it doesn’t bother her that the person she is in love with and infatuated with, does not love her back….

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t understand. Why do you want to break up with her? Because your friends tell you to? Unless I’ve misunderstood something somewhere along the line here, she knows exactly how you feel (or don’t feel) about her and she still chooses to be in a relationship with you. That means she gets something out of it.

As long as you are comfortable with the imbalance, I don’t see the problem. Are you taking advantage of her? I’m not seeing that happening so far in what you’ve said.

As long as you are honest (and kind, but not the kind of kind that involves dishonesty) with her, it seems to me that you can have the relationship you want and she chooses freely without any illusions about how you feel about her.

It’s not your job to be her parent. You don’t get to decide whether she can be involved with you but only if your feelings are equal. You only get to give her good information and let her make her own choice. If you don’t want to break up, then don’t. Leave that up to her. Just make sure she knows the relevant information… or maybe a little more information, just to be sure. It sounds like you already do that, so I really don’t see why you need to do anything different. What am I missing?

As it happens, I think your feelings for her are fine. You love her but you aren’t “in love” with her, which often is a distinction without a difference. You are in a common male position of being unable to honestly promise a future, and yet having not real desire to leave. I’ve seen relationships like this last more stably than many a marriage. My brother, for example, is in one with a very good friend of mind. Or at least, she was my good friend until he finally decided he was in a relationship with her. They moved in together. That’s how you can tell. There are still no verbal promises and no words about love, as far as I know.

So what you are doing is not uncommon, and I hate to tell you, but you may even be in a long term relationship. God forbid! Your ideas about what “in love” means… well, they are just ideas. They may have little to do with life as she is lived. So I would forget about them, and continue on as you are doing and not worry about naming the relationship. Just have the relationship. Sounds a lot better than most.

lemming's avatar

I’d get out of it asap. If it hasn’t happened by now and you’ve told all your friends about it, it ain’t gonna happen. Just leave her in no doubt, like one jelly said already.

6rant6's avatar

All you folks so willing to ditch a relationship which serves two people pretty well… I don’t get it. There is no guarantee of perfect love. It’s not a shameful thing to take happiness over romantic perfection. Love sometimes grows. And loneliness sometimes becomes unbearable – possibly for two people in this case.

Is this American, or Western or something where people feel that if they don’t shoot for the pinnacle in every facet of their lives that they are somehow unfulfilled or undeserving? I call bullshit.

Furthermore, all this crap about being gentle is flat out wrong. She’s in love with the guy, so to help her __get over him__, he’s supposed to be nice? How the hell is that supposed to work? If you decide to end it, you don’t have to go out of your way to offend or hurt her, but you must be willing for her to see you as an ass. Don’t leave her hoping that after a while you – her perfect mate – will change your mind.

_Whitetigress's avatar

You tell them, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

lifeflame's avatar

I’m with @wundayatta here.
I think as long as both of you clearly communicate what you are feeling to each other and are fine with the imbalance, it’s okay.

From the girl’s side, I’ve been in a relationship before where it was clear to both of us that I was much more in love than he was with me; but I was very very glad that he let me be part of his life. (We ended up choreographing a duet together that we brought to a dance festival in Poland; and the process really helped my creative growth.)

Honesty is key, and things might also start to change too, so you need to keep communicating how you feel. But as it is right now, if you’re both enjoying yourselves are are clear about each other’s feelings; I say, enjoy! Maybe at some point she or you will want more or something else or evolve to something even more permanent, but when that comes, that comes. Stay true to your feelings of this moment; rather than acting in fear of hurting or being hurt hypothetically in the future.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

My Grandma, God rest her soul, once said to me that it is of great fortune to be loved than to be the lover. To that end, I’d say give it time, maybe you are being too picky. Concentrate on the positive and leave the self-doubt and the questions about whether or not she’s right for you behind – and see what most you can make out of it. If there’s nothing there after a while then maybe it is time to call it quits – but give yourself, not her, yourself – a chance at seeing how good you have it when you’re walking around with your eyes open, instead of with your mind closed, as it were.

freddrifin's avatar

He or she will cry and will ask for another chance. or he/she will be very angry.

dabbler's avatar

“In love” is worthless, except as a joy ride.
It will come and go, is undependable and will make you do crazy shit.

“2) We enjoy each others’ company 90% of the time.
3) We get along better than most couples I know.” are core to a lasting relationship.
Add trust and ‘compatible in bed’ and you are way better off than a lot of married people.

So, I’m with @wundayatta and @6rant6, are you sure you want something else?
Why are you restless about this relationship?

Inspired_2write's avatar

I have just gone through the same scenerio but I was the one who loved too much.
I broke off a two year relationship ( he lived with me for one year) as he kept saying that ‘we were just friends and did not want anything more”?
I broke it off to let us both separate too see if we miss each other enough to get together later.
Meanwhile I have joined a GYM to get in shape and written a short novel, etc
In short get oneself in better shape, physically,mentalyy, and financially to take up the time that one has spent together in the relationship and to change the routine of your lives.
I suggest that you agree to separate temporarily until either or both agree to meet again..but to discuss what went wrong in the first place.
In my relationship I gave too much of my power away , while he appreciated all that I did for him.(entertain..cooked,etc).
He was shocked that I ended it , I tried before when he moved to another country but returned, but I began to think things over and realized that maybe I was his ‘safe haven” when ever he was in trouble, lost a job , low on money etc
In short we became to familular with the way things were , but they were not equal or balanced.( a flag ).
I leave it now with us separating as friends but no contact for awhile.
He currently lives in another City and is planning to go Overseas. He is a wanderer and traveller and lives on the edge , as he likes that lifestyle.
He in short sacrificed security for adventure and I the opposite.
I have my apartment(security) while he has his travels with no security.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Esedess It has been over 4 years since you asked this. Looking backwards through the lens of time, can you tell us what happened?
Did you stay or did you go? And are you both happier?

kritiper's avatar

Gently. And completely. Don’t drag it out.

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