I’m trying to be there for her while she’s at sea

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I have a doctor's appointment (and flu shot) today so we'll skip this week's chat. Get your flu shot, everybody.

Recently my girlfriend's family member passed away. It was someone who was like a father to her.

A week or two before that, she told me she wanted to marry me when she comes home. We are in a long-distance relationship right now because she is in the service at sea. After her family member passed, I tried to comfort her the best way I could, trying to make her smile, but the next day she said she doesn't think she can do this anymore, but that she still wants to be involved with my daughter.

She tried to make the point that I didn't do various things to help the relationship, when I've done everything I possibly can to make it work. We also got into an argument about marriage – she's telling me I'm not ready when all I ever wanted was a soul mate like this. She tells me she needs to think about it. I tried to give her the space she needs but she still reaches out to me all the time, but it’s like I'm talking to wall.

We've been together almost two years now. I'll assume she's overthinking a lot right now because of the large burden of grief she is carrying. She hasn't said she doesn't love me anymore, but it feels that way. I'm ready to tell her how I really feel – which is that we should break up and not do any more thinking. But I'm trying to be considerate because of her grieving.

– What now and when?


I think you should break up with her. I mean, do it with kindness and empathy, but make it happen.

Up until the last sentence, I couldn't tell what you wanted and whether you still hoped for marriage, despite her gut feeling that you don't. But ... it turns out she is right. You don't want to get married now, even if you did before. If she's calling you and saying she can't do this anymore, let her know you feel the same. Explain that even though you care about her and want to support her through her grief, the relationship isn't working for either of you. Go for honesty.

There's no great time to end a relationship. She'll be processing the loss of this family member for a long time (grief is not linear), so it’s not like you can wait until she goes through it. I do wish you could postpone this until you see her in person, but she's literally at sea. A bunch of breakups have had to happen over Zoom this year. It's OK to to do this one from afar.

The real question is how much you want her in your life after it's over. She can't dictate terms when it comes to your daughter. It also might be healthier for her to find different people to lean on when she needs emotional support. After the breakup, you can talk to her about how you’re supposed to be in each other's lives, if at all. Think about your boundaries and what's best for you and your family.

– Meredith

Readers? Time to break up?