The Student Room Group

Should I break up with my boyfriend of 7 years?

Please note that this is about a gay relationship. If that offends you, please don’t read.

My boyfriend (33 years old) and I (27) have been together for over 7 years. On the surface, we seem to be the ideal match; we’re affectionate, share the same thoughts on things in life, heck, we even do/think things in sync with each other. We love each other dearly. Yet, deep down, I’m not sure if, after all this time together, we have reached the end of our relationship.

We seem to be the ideal match, but when it comes to the fundamentals of a relationship (namely, marriage and family), we seem to have different opinions.

I would like to get married one day or enter into a civil partnership as a compromise. This is mainly for our legal and financial security as a couple. For example, I think it’s important to have rights should one of us end up in hospital etc. Given how homophobic some people can be, I would hate for us to have nothing to show/ defend our relationship after so many years together. Plus, on a more superficial level, I see a civil partnership/ marriage as a sign of commitment to the relationship. My partner, however, doesn’t believe in marriage. I don’t blame him - he never knew his dad (he was conceived during a one night stand), his mum has never remarried after her first husband, and many of his friends have gone through some harsh break ups. After many questions and a lot of research, I’ve come to better understand why some don’t believe in marriage. However, even with this new understanding, I still believe marriage/ a civil partnership is right for me.

I want him to be more involved with my friends and family. Unfortunately, there are still members of our family to whom neither of us have come out, so he has only met my family a handful of times; I have met his mum once, but that’s it. When I ask why he hasn’t introduced me to the rest of his family/ friends , he tells me that his family are not that close and hardly tell each other anything; my family are very close, and I have to admit that I’m struggling to understand his reluctance to involve me in his family life - I mean, imagine if a member of your family moved in with someone/ got married to someone who you had never had the chance to meet? I keep telling myself that, ultimately, it’s none of my business, but the frustration still niggles at me regardless.

Just from reading the above, I imagine that the answer seems pretty clear: leave him and find someone with whom you share these values, so why am I so reluctant?

I’ve lived a very privileged and lucky life compared to my bf: My family consists of people in very strong, committed relationships with very few split ups/ divorces; my family has always been financially better off than his (he has to support his mum, pay rent etc); and I have an amazing and very large group of friends. It seems wrong of me to expect so much from him when I’ve not had to deal with even a fraction of what he has.

From the above, it may look like my boyfriend is the only one who hasn’t made any effort. But, if I’m really honest with myself, I haven’t either. he’s only met my close family and friends a handful of times, and I haven’t been doing much to switch up our routine. I can’t lay the blame solely at his door if this relationship has come to an end, and again, it shouldn’t be his sole responsibility.

He waited for me for a very long time. We met when I was completing a languages degree, part of which involved to spend 2 years abroad and another 2 living in another city with friends at uni. Surely it would be unfair for me to ask him about commitment and our future when I have spent the first few years galivanting around the world and finishing my degree?

He does a lot for me: driving me to places, helping me to renovate a flat that I’ll be moving into in a few weeks (wonderful timing, right?), as well as being an all-round wonderful and kind human being. That surely must count for something.

Despite all of my doubts, I still love him and struggle to imagine him not being in my life. In fact, I find the thought really upsetting - comparable to if someone really close to me had died. I broke it off with him before after I moved back to the UK (like I said, my timing is wonderful). However, after spending a fair amount of time hanging out as friends, we re-entered into a relationship. If I do this again, I can't go back, and that frightens me so much.

I know that, ultimately, this is a question that only I can answer, but if you have managed to weed through the war and peace that I have written above, I would really appreciate your thoughts on the situation. I know that I have to do what is right for me, and I don’t want to make the wrong decision, but I have to acknowledge how lucky I am, and have been, in life when compared to my boyfriend, and this may have coloured my expectations. In that regard, feel free to tell me if I am being delusional, unreasonable or ungrateful.

Apologies for rambling on, and thank you in advance for any advice.
My only relationship lasted about 6 weeks and ended when I confided that I'm asexual (we're friends now though) so I would take everything I say with a pinch of salt.

It sounds to me like you care about each a lot and would really regret not being together. Honestly, I think this is just something you guys really need to have a talk about. You can explain why you want to get married and you can allow your boyfriend to explain any worries he might have with it. Talking together must be better than just never discussing the issue and it's the only way you can truly say how you feel about it. It sounds as if your boyfriend is really important to you and marriage (or a civil partnership) is just another way that you want to express how important he is to you.

If you want him to be more involved with your friends and family, may try some meetings with smaller groups to try and ease yourselves into it. Instead of meeting with all your family, you could meet up every now and again for lunch with your parent/parents and spend a little time together. Maybe do something similar with your friends. You say neither of you really make too much effort with meeting friends/family together and switching things, so maybe this can be the month that you do. Maybe the pair of you could pick something new to do each week (with friends/family or just the two of you) and try some stuff out.

Honestly, I'm no expert in any of this but like I said, it sounds as you love each other and want to be together. Talk to your boyfriend. Surely it has to be the best way for communicating the things you want and understanding any reservations your boyfriend may have.

Good luck with your relationship! I wish you all the best and I hope everything works out happily for both of you!
Reply 2
It sounds like you really love each other, and the two issues you described don't seem like they should necessarily stand in the way of that. To me, this is something that could probably be resolved through discussion and compromise. As you say, however, this is something only you can decide.

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