Some days I feel like I’m his mother

Please have a safe holiday weekend. We'll return Monday. And yes, the next time we have some days off, we'll do updates.

Also, please remember to share your "How do you know?" story for Season 3 of the podcast. How did you know it was time to move in with someone? To marry them? To open your relationship? To walk away? Share here.

I'm a college student and I've been seeing my significant other for four years now. We were friends before. He's socially awkward and not great with communication. I'm OK with that, but when we're in public I feel ashamed of him. He also lacks life skills. He has trouble paying bills and dealing with things like public transportation, and I tend to have to do things for him. Some days I just feel like I'm a mother taking care of a little boy. I'll be starting my last year of college, and in my family, daughters are supposed to marry as soon as they graduate. I keep thinking that sooner or later I’m going to have to marry this guy – but I don't think I can. I don't think he'll be a suitable husband for me or for building a family.

I know I'm getting ahead of myself (I haven't even told my parents about our relationship), but it's bothering me. He's a great friend and we have many common interests. I like his ideals and how he really respects women. I fear that I'm not going to find another person like him, but I can't deal with his flaws. Maybe I'm confusing my feelings for him with love because I'm short on friendships. I don't know what to do. I've been thinking about this for four months now, and it's been getting in the way of my studies. I need your opinion.

– Doubts


"I know I'm getting ahead of myself ..."

Are you? If your goal is to get married after you graduate, you should be seeking out the best partner right now. You should be making space in your life for everything you want in the future.

You seem to know that this man – while lovely at times – is not up for the kind of responsibilities you plan to share with a spouse. You've been with him for years and haven't witnessed much of an evolution. I have to wonder whether you've declined to tell your parents about him because you've already decided that he won't be their son-in-law.

Based on everything you said in your letter, it's time to free yourself up for the kind of commitment that's best for you. Spend your final year of college focusing on what's next. Also, maybe work on that friend thing. Finding friends might not be the priority in your family, but it sounds like you want more community in your life. You can broaden your search for more than one kind of relationship.

– Meredith

Readers? Time to break up?