I think I'm about to be dumped.

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yes and yes: whiskey and video games. have your friends take your phone away.

She'll want to stay friends. Women say this to salve their ego, to reassure themselves they aren't the bad one for rejecting you. News flash, they are. Rejecting another human being has to be done sometimes, but it's a tremendous asshole act and no one, NO ONE feels good for doing it. You have to for your own emotional and mental health. Do it first, do it fast. Doesn't have to be in person, but should be. Dump her, unfriend her on Facebook, and lose her number. Do it all quickly, rapid-fire, like ripping a piece of tape out of your leg hair.

Callous as this sounds, I speak from experience when I say that this is totally something that happens. Some girls do this: they date a guy for a while and then dump him for a new flavor, all while claiming that they didn't do anything wrong in doing so.

In my case, the prospective girlfriend had been a friend of mine for years, and had told me about the several breakups she had prior to me, some of which were guys I knew who I was pretty sure were all decent guys. Now this should've been a huge warning flag to me, but I was younger and dumber so it never occurred to me that she might betray my absolute trust one day. Several months down the line, she started pulling back from me. I later found out that she had started dating one of her exes again....and she had never told me that we had broke up. Yeah, she was cheating on me, and I knew it was going on, but I couldn't confront her at the time. She actively tried to conceal this from me, and it went on for months. I only finally verified my suspicions after having to go snooping in her IRC logs. And yet when I finally revealed that I knew, she still wanted us to stay friends.

I was a wreck for months afterwards, and I haven't dated since. She, on the other hand, went on to dump her ex for the third time, then picked up another guy and dumped him, and is currently shacked up with yet another guy. I hated myself for a while and she really made me believe that I was at fault for all of it, but as I watched her grow tired of my friends and dump them to move on to another guy, I finally grew up and realized what a manipulative witch she really was.

If this girl is trying to "stay friends" but is really eyeing this other guy, you may want to initiate the breakup yourself. Especially if she has a history of breaking up with previous multiple boyfriends. Because she might have just gotten tired of you and is looking to dump you in the most polite way possible.

First of all, thankyou to everyone for your support, sharing of your own stories, and advice.

Except for Tanakh; that didn't help at all...

I think you all deserve to know what has happened since then- so I'll break it down for you.





My Question for YOU

Straight away, is much better than a time bomb.
And you can still be respectful about it. No need to drag it out.

If I was with someone that I knew was longing and quite possibly opting for something and someone else, I don't think I could find peace and happiness in the time I am still granted to be with him/her. It's just wrong. It's emotionally immature and bound to put a dent in just about every ego.

I think it's cool you have these grown-up talks and all, still, I really think it's high time you kick the habit and look for happiness elsewhere. Maybe you want to be 'friends' so you might consider holding out until she leaves for her Europe trip. That's really nice and sweet and gentle and all, but I fear it might still crush you when she actually does find someone else, someone better, or just enjoys the me-time with her girl friends more.

I feel this ship has sailed, this relationship has run its course. May you enjoy the time off and find love and peace and happiness somewhere else, soon.

I'm not sure I entirely get your logic...

You want to break up your relationship in order to give it a future?

That doubt, that there might be another man better suited for her? It's not going to go away by her simply trying lots of different men, there's simply way too many people out there for that. Even if it does, you kind of end up in a fucked-up situation where you're with each other simply and only because you failed to find anyone better...

Confidence in a relationship should come from within. If being with each other is simply good and makes you happy then what the hell does it matter if there's potentially other people who might potentially be better suited? If you have a good thing going then keep it going. If you have a bad thing going then break it off. Others don't matter.

Maybe it's just me but I can't see her experimenting whilst you're sitting at home pining after her hoping for a rekindling later on to end well in any way, shape or form.

If you truly believe your relationship can't sustain itself then truly break it off. Dump her, be honest to her as well don't drag her along whilst your own heart isn't in it, spend a few months on your own and then find a different gal and hope it does work out with her.

If you truly want a future with this girl then truly go for that. Sitting at home whilst she's off and hoping the whole thing will somehow fix itself isn't going to work. Put some real effort into enjoying the time you have with her, take the initiative for a change and make it a great time. Then make sure you keep in touch while she's away to keep it going.

But make a real choice, currently it sounds like you're just waiting for everything to happen. Waiting for her to contact you and set up dates at first and now waiting for her to figure out what route to take with the relationship and going along. It takes two to tango, I'd say it's past time to stop waiting and start taking an active approach in where you want this relationship to go.

What a snip.

First of all, thank you very much for sharing this with us, this can't have been easy on you.

I really don't know you all too well, so I can only tell you what I would do.

Personally, I would want to end it right now.

If you drag this out any longer, maybe SHE will be a little happier / feel better about herself / whatever, but what's important are your feelings.

And as much as breaking up will hurt, what hurts me more is being left in a suspended state of uncertainty, which in this case would be due to her being unable to make up her fucking mind about you and what she wants.

The only way to end this "quantum-status" of you relationship is by opening the box and killing the cat.
A.e. breaking up with her.

Yeah, maybe she wouldn't "appreciate" that, but boo-friggin-hoo, this is not about her, this is about you. And why should you have to be unhappy just so she can be a little happier for just a little longer?

Be gentle about it, tell her that you still care about her as a person etc, but also make it very clear that it was HER behaviour that made you doubt the relationship, which is why you feel that you can no longer go on like this.

Don't go the "it's not you, it's me" route, because that's just bad style. Tell her, that it is her fault, tell her why that is and tell her that because of this, you want to end this relationship.

It will be very tough but I do believe that this is the right choice.

Also, this "single life" bullshit is just that. Bullshit. Most singles I know (male and female) would do basically everything to be in a loving, stable relationship with a great partner.
The ones who don't want a partner are either scarred by a past relationship having gone awry or just want to focus on their careers.

If she wants to go out there and fuck random dudes and "experiment" then I say:
" All the power to you, I hope you catch a damn STD"

First...regardless of what happens, you'll be alright. You won't be lonely for the rest of your life. You will find love, whether it's with your current girlfriend or someone else.

Second...she has a point. I know it's different for everyone but I didn't even consider getting married until I was in my mid-thirties. I was just having WAY too much fun being single. But eventually, I got tired of it and started looking for "The Marrying Kind" of girl. Found one, dated her and married her. Been together seven years. Happy ending.

My advice, worth nothing but the paper it's printed on, is break it off "straight away". Let her try her "single life". One of two things will happen; either she'll hate it and decide things were much better in a stable relationship with you. Or she won't, in which case you both would have been miserable trying to make it work.

Either way, win/win for you.

And who knows...maybe this opens the door for new and potentially better relationship for you.

the most heartfelt snip of them all

Damn fam, I'm kinda tearing up...

I would usually say that you should do it her way and hope that you guys stay together but as you said, she's 22. If she doesn't "experiment" when she's single then she's gonna do it later on, most likely when you're still together.

I'd say break up for the duration of her trip and both of you experiment. Afterwards, if she wants to get back together and you feel the same- go for it. If not, then I'm sure you can find somebody even better than her:)

No matter what, BE HAPPY. Enjoy life and let whatever happens, happen.

Take all of the above with a massive grain of salt though. I'm terrible at relationships.

P.S. Keep us updated:)

Hahaha, you ditched her at work so you could play at sorting photos with your mum? Fucking hell man.


Sounds like she's still in a middle area to me. I think the ball is mostly in your court at the moment, and that's not a bad thing. Again, I know what you're going through. Both me and my fiance have thought similar things as your girlfriend at different times. In the end, for us it always came down to whether we could see ourselves marrying the other one or not. For both of us, it always ended up being yes. That was something we had talked about in the first few months of our relationship, when I was still in highschool and she was in college. We both had agreed that we weren't doing it because it was convenient or because it was easy, since we were quite a ways away from each other, so if at any point we decided that we couldn't see ourselves marrying the other one then there wasn't a point in staying together.

We're obviously not the same people, and your philosophy might be different, but in long term relationships that's something that is important to talk about. Probably not right now for you, since you've been talking about the more basic relationship stuff with her, but it's important for you to consider and then talk to her about. The best thing you can do at the moment, in my experience, is to keep talking to her about things. Don't push it too much, and don't do that all the time, but keep up the conversation on how you're doing, what she feels, how you feel and so on. While you're doing that think about how you two fit together, and if you want to marry her or not. Eventually, whenever you feel comfortable with it, ask her how she feels about that. Make sure she knows it's not a proposal (unless you want it to be one), but that before she goes off to Europe you want to know what she's thinking along those lines.

Another option for you, if you're still together and relatively happy by the time she goes of, is to go on a break. Yes, that mostly ends in a total breakup, but it would give her the chance to see other guys and have fun while she's in Europe, and frankly it would give you a chance to do the same. When she gets back you two re-evaluate and take things from there. It might not be appealing to you, but sometimes that's what needs to happen. You never know, you might be the one who's realized something by the end of it and decide that it's time to move on.

In the end, whatever happens, you need to let her do what she wants. A relationship only works if it's going both ways, and if it's not then there isn't anything you can do about it. But if you love her I wouldn't suggest breaking up with her yourself. Let her do it, and go with it if she does. It won't be easy if it comes to that, and you should let her know that if there's ever a point in the upcoming months where she knows which way it's going to go that she should just let you know then, but if it takes until the morning she leaves then that's what it takes.

Keep talking to her, but if she decides to break it off don't be pushy and don't beg. Let it happen. It'll be hard, but you'll get over it quickly enough, and in the end you'll be happier off in the long run because, as I said, good relationships go both ways, and when they stop doing that they stop becoming happy for either person (unless one of the people is crazy... then it devolves to stalking and general creepiness).

Good luck man.

I would dump her first to safe face and your ego. it sounds woman code for breakup to me. She's 22 and done her University. She wants freedom to mess around now.

why live in fear if she is unsure and is giving you BS reasons about why she is not in love with you I would just dump her and tell her you are moving on. done and done.

My take? If you guys have such an open and honest relationship tell her not to pull any punches to "spare you" or "try and be nice to you". If you she honestly cares as much as you do and has such serious doubts, then maybe a break is needed. Especially with this Europe trip coming up. That seems like a really BIG issue if you guys do stay together as you will constantly be worried and wondering what's going on. By all means fight for it if you really want her, but you should also have a concrete, black and white type of answer with this given the length of your time together. Either you two want to be together, or you don't. Sitting around in the grey area is no good and can drive you insane. At least in my experience. Best of luck to you man and I hope it works out for you!

UPDATE: To see what happened next, see page 4, post 109

After nearly four years of what I thought was a loving, caring and genuinely happy relationship, my girlfriend said 3 days ago that she loves me, but she doesn't know if she's in love with me.


She tells me, somewhat out of the blue, that lately she's been feeling like she's drifing away from me, that our relationship seems based on convenience, and that it isn't going anywhere.

The thing is though, that as far as relationships go, we've had it pretty good: we see each other often, get on well with each others' families, we're openly affectionate with each other (in public, after nearly 4 years!!), have sex frequently, and hardly ever fight. And when we do fight, we listen to and respect each other's point of view.

She tells me she's had phases of doubt in the past that have dissapated, but this one is more solid.

A few weeks ago she was chatting casually to her boss about us, when he abruptly told her it wouldn't last. She's also been catching up with a friend of hers more recently, and he's just come out of a long, stable relationship. I'm worried that she's hearing so many tales of woe about other's relationships that she thinks the same must apply to us, and I'm scared. I'm really, really scared.

I asked her if I had (or hadn't) done anything to make her feel this way and she said no. I told her to think about it, and now I'm going over to her place tomorrow, and I just can't shake this feeling of impending doom.

TL:DR Has anyone, especially guys, had this sense of 'about to break up' doom too? And is there any way to prepare for it or make it easier?

Hunni all I would say is don't make assumptions about what will happen or you risk making this a self fullfilling prophecy. Women like to plan, we tend to be more family/relationship centric and many of us need to feel like this part of our lives are going somewhere. If she has doubts and is telling you about it she may want reassurance that you want the same things from this relationship as her.

Talk to her, ask her what she wants from a relationship, be honest about what you want and then have a discussion about whether your long term hopes for your relationship are compatible. But whatever you do, don't go to see her assuming that your relationship is over or she may interpret that as you having already written off any future together for the two of you.

Whatever happens I really do wish you all the best.

Well, this is surely a sad thing and my deepest sympathies for the OP.

However, what I'm going to say might not seem like helping but it possibly could...

In the end, this is a good thing.

Now hear me out.

I've dated quite a few women and have had my share of relationships and what I've learned over the years is that it's not fun and enjoyable to be with someone who isn't "into you" and I highly doubt that any healthy person wants someone to stay with them "just because".

What I have learned over some hard breakups is that it's better to be with someone who wants to be with you and who you want to be with. It's more fun, enjoyable and the relationships usually "feel more right".

People grow, have different needs. Have you ever been in a good relationship only to find out that there was one deal breaker based on what each of you wanted in life? Well, heck, I have. Or that you were with someone but they needed to move and you needed to stay?

What I have also learned is that if you are healthy about the whole thing you WILL find someone else and that person will be more "right" for you. This always happens. It's not a store and you can't just order a new relationship but it does happen.

Yes it's sad but in the end both you and your current/former partner will be happier and more fulfilled.

Good luck, I know you will do well and eventually be in a better place. If not with this person with someone new who will really love you the way you deserve.

First of all, thankyou to everyone for your support, sharing of your own stories, and advice.

i have the bad feeling that you accidently and ultimately will turn things worse out of the fear of being caught off guard if these "bad" things you think of might happen.

what i am trying to say is that you kind of evoking something bad, you are souring the situation to yourself until you cant stand being in that relationship anymore.

stop thinking who will break up with who and when. just stop it.
you will make it worse and unbearable for yourself and i have seen a good dozen people destroy friendships, relationships and more just out of fear of possibly being hurt.

just try to forget that you may or may not break up with her.
maybe she just will propose a small time out and you will piss yourself off that much that you outright will break up or even cheat on her. or maybe, she wont break up with you after all.

again, stop overthinking this or you might make your worst fears come true.

and if it should become true, i am pretty sure you will live on and find someone else.

but again, its all mostly speculation.

and if you should be pretty pissed off about this post, i propose that you just PM me with the biggest insults you might have in your repertoire until you feel okay again. i wont mind.


Hunni all I would say is don't make assumptions about what will happen or you risk making this a self fullfilling prophecy.

i see i was ninja'd. damn. also: welcome to the escapist.

If I was in your shoes, I'd put my foot down. Not much advice coming from someone who has actively stayed single for over a decade. But, I'm just not the type of person to put up with games.

All I can really offer is to wish you luck. But, whatever you decide, know that it's going to have to be for you, not her.

Captcha: "Against the grain." Fitting, captcha. Very fitting.

OP, I'm the type of guy that has always gone for the 'committed Long term' relationship. With that being said, I was in your shoes about 2 years ago, practically same situation. Girlfriend feels she's missed out on the 'single life' and wants to experiment.

To put this bluntly, how ever hard this may be to hear: Sounds like she wants to go fuck other dudes for awhile.

I made the mistake of doing the break up her way, which was the slow ticking time bomb of "let's see what happens". Please, don't go this route. The only one getting hurt out of this is YOU. I'm not suggesting the exact same thing is going to happen (in my case, after my ex-n me broke up, she spent the following 3 months sleeping with 14 other men [3 of which I knew] getting pregnant, miscarry, and then wanting to pick the relationship back up) but you need to look after yourself here. Why stick around for something you know is likely going to end when she leaves in May? It needs to end so it can have a future? Yeah, I've heard the saying "if you love something, let it go. And if it loves you, it will come back". Yeah, mine came back alright after she had one hell of a summer it seems. You know what I did during that time? I thought about her and no one else. Does that seem right to you? Don't be me of 2 years ago dude.. Get mad, GET ANGRY! Call her out on what she thinks 'experiment' means. Ask her why should you stick around waiting for her to make the ultimate decision?

You want this to work don't you? She should have to want it to work as much as you do.

I like how the first spoiler tag started treating into literotica territory there.

10/10 would read again.

In all honesty, she sounds childish and selfish. If she cared that much for you, she wouldn't put you through the ringer by seeking experimentation with other men. I entered my own relationship at a younger age than you (I was 19, she was 18). I'm now approaching 30, and we have never once broken up (though there have been one or two close calls). Never once has she said that she feels like she has missed out, because I make her happy (somehow).

Myself, I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought/fantasised/talked about what it might be like to be with other women, but that's all it is: fantasy. And often, reality doesn't live up to fantasy.

I guess my point here is that if she wants to experience 'what she's missing' she's not satisfied with what she's got. I don't mean that as any slight towards you. But it sounds to me like the one thing you need to be is the one thing you can't be - someone else.

If I were in your shoes, I'd put my foot down, say that I want all or nothing, and end it myself. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It's a simple moral, but it fits perfecty here. Letting her go in the hopes she'll come back more appreciative is folly, and will only lead to constant heartache during the interim, and eventual heartbreak when that (likely) doesn't happen. The only thing you can do to keep yourself sane is to cut it off yourself, walk away, and presume that it's over for good, because then you're not setting yourself up for disappointment down the road, and you can begin the healing process right away.

Then, if she does come back, bonus. Just be sure to get her tested if she does.

Edit: Skops has it right.

I'm going to have to agree with the mantee. The "single" lifestyle is bullshit.

Now if she is going to use this trip to go "single" wild. Then it's best to break it off before she goes. There is only heartbreak and suffering for you waiting and continueing to cling to hope, while she's gone and you can only guess what she's doing there. It will tear you up. Break up before.

I know I haven't commented on this thread before the update but what the hey I'll throw my two cents in since I'm in a similar situation. Honestly the only thing that will ever help is time and it sounds like you might get that. As much as it hurts a decision is going to be made at some point and it may or may not be the one you want to here. You just have to be patient, wait and if the time you spent together really means as much to her as it does to you then she will come back. Letting go hurts like hell I'm not gonna mince words. I go around feeling like there's a chunk of me missing but after about two months things have improved. You just have to keep your head up. Stay in contact with her and make sure she knows your intentions. Don't worry so much about the future as compared to right now.

I suppose my incoherent ramblings might help and they might not but you aren't alone mate and no matter what happens. You will make it out of this a better man than when you started and whether you start over with her or someone else your experience will only make everything better.

Short answer: put the foot down. Tell her its committal to you, or you're done.
She's not going to remain loyal as soon as that time-bomb goes off, why do you owe her loyalty up until then? If the relationship isn't going to go where you want, why not spend this time looking for someone else who does want the same end as you?

I also agree with the above posts that waiting for her if she does leave is folly. If at some point in the future your single, and she's single, and something major has changed, then maybe consider trying it again if the situation seems good. But counting on her to come back to you with a new appreciation (much less respect, which you will have none in her eyes if you let her walk all over you up until she leaves; you'll basically have tagged yourself to her mind as 'will do anything, for nothing') is a possibility so remote it doesn't deserve the slightest consideration until it happens.

'plenty of other fish in the sea' is little comfort when facing the prospect of losing someone you truly love and certainly can't even imagine replacing, and there is however big or small a possibility you won't meet another person you enjoy being around to that degree. But, if your girlfriend chooses to leave, isn't it more worthwhile taking a look for that person than settling for her (or worse, a fantasy of her running back to you after) when you clearly have incompatible desires?

Honestly, from what I can tell reading your posts, it seems like it would be healthier for both of you to end the relationship amicably. "Take a break" maybe--though that's often a euphemism for something more permanent, I don't think it necessarily needs to be. Obv no one can really make an accurate judgement without personally knowing both of you (and even then it'd be incredibly difficult,) but this in particular...

She's 22, and many of her friends have been in and out of relationships during ours, and others have been single throughout. She's felt for some time now that by being with me she is missing out on the single lifestyle her friends have enjoyed during the part of her life she feels is best suited for it. She says she wishes she had met me a little later on after she had had time to experiment. I recall her mentioning this view in an offhand way nearly 2 years ago, and it seems to have stuck with her.

...indicates to me that you should let her go her own way, for both of your sakes. She's 22, and you say you've been dating for four years. So she's been with your either since she was a senior in high school or not long after graduation--essentially, her entire adult life. That she's apparently been thinking about this for (at least) two years, and that she explicitly planned her trip as a solo thing, makes it seem to me like this is very important to her.

If she stays with you, missing out on this could very well be something she regrets for the rest of her life. I really don't think it's about trying to find someone "better." It's more about... having a certain level of freedom and independence that she's never had, basically. She wants to have some fun before settling down, while you've had your fun and are ready to settle down. No one can fault either of you for wanting what you want, but you want different things.

"The single life" isn't really about searching for the ideal mate. It's about being able to do whatever the hell you want when you want--being exclusively responsible for yourself and not answering to anyone but yourself. You've had that, she hasn't. Some people don't need to have had that experience to feel fulfilled. She doesn't sound like one of those people.

You gotta make your own choice for yourself, and none of us can offer any real, substantial advice without personally knowing the both of you, but that's just my take.

Better to bail out early and land on your feet then bail out late and have to land on your knees.

First off, the two of you are very young. You're at the age where a serious relationship feels like "the one". Sometimes it is, but it's a lot more rare than most people your age realize.

Secondly, she expressed a feeling of loss of never being able to be single or see what other relationships might have to offer. This feeling has lasted years now. Even if you convince her to stay with you, that doubt sounds like it isn't going away anytime soon.

My advice, for what it's worth, is to break up with her. Not in a bad way, just tell her you've been doing a lot of thinking about what she said and you don't want to make her feel like she's trapped in your relationship. This may sound cynical but it also puts you in a much stronger position if, in the future (by future I mean a few months at least), she decides to want to try dating you again. You don't want her to think of you as the guy she had to push away to get some breathing room. Then I would spend some serious time apart. No calling. No watching movies together "but just as friends". No texting. This is the hardest part, but it's key. Everybody thinks they can be the one to take their relationship of several years back into friendship. Everyone is wrong. Once you cross a certain line there's simply no going back.

I would do this before her Europe trip. Preferably right away. I would be respectful and gentle about it, but firm.

I would also stop listing the details of your sexual trysts online. God help you if she comes across this somehow. I know it's unlikely, but why take even that risk?

Just my two cents.

Do what you feel would be best. In the end your experience will be genuine and give you the right idea for the next time something like this happens and you can go down a different road. I had a similar experience to this one and in the end it turned out that waiting wasn't the best idea in the world so feel free to take that information into account but for a subject such as this the proper answer will always lie in that part of your head reserved for logic (emotions can get you into trouble in this regard, after all).

Good luck!

I have to say that this was one of the most interesting posts I have read in several months. I sympathize with you man, break-ups aren't easy. However, I'd give you the advice to be up straight with it. The relationships that I have had are ones where I have been dumped, yet we ended it as friends. I appreciated it when they were honest and told me how they felt and I would probably have been more hurt if they had lingered with it.

Let it go. There a literally millions of people out there who are also compatible with you.

You need to break up with her. She's going to Europe, she's young and has just finished school and she will want to grow and 'explore' and have experiences to develop herself. Let her go.
By you breaking up with her, she'll come away without the guilt of being selfish, and will have a better time of her holiday, and you'll have the satisfaction of being the dumper rather than the dumpee, and can congratulate yourself on being mature and grown up about the whole thing. It's still gonna suck like nothing else, there's no way around that, but I truly think this race has run it's course.
When she gets back from Europe, she'll be a different person, and you'll hear about her adventures through a mutual friend while you're at a party with your new squeeze.
I have been through a very similar situation - twice!- and I think it's time to pull the pin.
Best of luck...

captcha - sticky wicket.
Who programs these things?

dump that chump . write less on the internet. use that time to get a new partner, who's not a self organized young lady who's egocentric view of the world is clinically solipsistic.

If she feels like she's missing out on some important life experience because she's with you, there is nothing you can do. I'm sorry. I've seen it happen a million times. When people start feeling trapped in a relationship it never ends well. The relationship is the problem, not the person she's in a relationship with.

If you think she is going to break up with you, you should go ahead and end it on your own terms. I would also keep a bottle of good sipping whiskey around for the day after. It will be rough.

Call me harsh but...

I think you should sort yourself out quite honestly, reading your post is making me wonder more about your role in this relationship. All I can read here is what she is going to do to you but I really, really think she is going with "What are you going to do for her?"

She is 22 and you're "going to her place" so I'm assuming her parents since you mentioned it and this relationship has been going on now for four years?
Colour me surprised I suppose but I would have imagined that after four years of being together there would be something that would convince you two to at least move in with one another.
She sounds like she wants to grow up and be a person who enjoys having early adulthood whilst she still has it, she is going away to Europe and you think she's going to dump you just to "fuck around" putting it bluntly.

You have a very negative attitude and kind of skewed image of sex - was it really necessary for you to ask people to PM you about your little romp?
Anyway, look if you think she wants to sleep around with other guys then maybe she does and maybe she already made her choice now and is just waiting until she goes to Europe to just put that distance between you and her to make everything a little easier because four years is a very long time - break up will be messy.

First of all, thankyou to everyone for your support, sharing of your own stories, and advice.

No problem. ^^

I must say - having read more of the thread since my original post, the age issue and the graduation issue strike me as a larger issue. She started dating you at 18. As she pointed out, she has missed being single.

Personally, I hate being single. I like to know where my next orgasm is coming from, and there's no better way than having someone in-house who can provide me with one. However, I did enjoy having sex with different people, which is sounds like something she might be missing. So I can see that this issue is the main problem now.

What do you think is the best way? And has anyone else had to weigh up multiple exit strategies for their relationships?

Advice eh? Okay, since you asked:

Open Relationship.

She's going to be in Europe in May. Why not discuss the option that, while she's in Europe, you both act as if you are single. When she gets back, you can continue your relationship. She'll have time to be single and get it out of her system (since, as noted, being single isn't all that great).

I'd suggest trying earlier, but I get the impression that neither of you are really equipped for the complexities of an actual open relationship.

Personally, my spouse and I quite enjoy our open/swinging relationship because it has all the fun of being single but the love and commitment of a marriage. But it's not for everyone. Still, it might let her (and you) get a taste of what things would be like if you did break up so you can both decide if that's something you actually want.

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