Should I tell him this isn’t going to last forever?

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Dear Meredith,

I just graduated college, with plans to travel abroad that were cancelled because of COVID-19. I am struggling to come to terms with life on pause – as I know so many of us are – especially in my early 20s, when I was so excited to make new memories away from home, meet new people to share adventures with, and explore who I am and who I want to become.

I've been with a person who is kind, sweet, and loving for a little over a year, and he's great, but I feel a little unfulfilled. I can't tell if it's just pandemic fatigue and my frustration with my ambitions on hold, or if my gut is telling me something more about this person and where I see our relationship going. And if it is the latter, should I tell him I have doubts? I love and care about him and he does make me happy, but I don't know if I would ever marry someone I met at 21, and a big part of me wants to cultivate my relationship with myself in my 20s rather than prioritizing a romantic relationship.

I know I am definitely overthinking things, and I read your responses and appreciate that you are so thoughtful when you offer advice. Is it wrong for me to continue my relationship with him while knowing that I don't want to be with him long-term? Or am I just being selfish?

– 20-Something

I don't think you're overthinking; you're simply thinking. May of us are doing that – considering what we want to do and who we want to be around as soon as the world becomes a safer place to enjoy.

I also feel like vaccine news has made these next steps feel more imminent. Yes, it will be a long time before there's "normal" (and we figure out what that means), but now it seems possible. In August, it felt like this would be forever.

One thing I've learned from the column is that it is possible to have a very healthy breakup during a pandemic. It's not fun – and maybe you're not ready for that step – but if you know you want to spend your 20s experiencing the world single, you can let him know and start that process. You feel unfulfilled wit him, even when it's difficult to see others. That is telling, and yes, he should probably know.

One question: if you knew he wasn't thinking about the future – if you could confirm that he's taking things month by month – would you enjoy him more? Maybe you are on the same page about all of this. But it sounds like you need to find out. At the very least, have a talk about that. Honesty is good.

– Meredith

Readers? Talk about this? End it? Is this pandemic fatigue?