I don’t want to end this relationship but …

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I have been dating my boyfriend for four years; we met in college. He finished before me and started working some distance away. The first year of him working was incredible. He would make sure to come and see me almost every weekend.

By the end of that year he started coming late and telling me he had other things to do. I would wait for hours for him to show up. It really hurt my feelings and it made me feel stupid. Then last year he cheated on me. I was devastated but I still wanted to work things out with him.

After, I would find messages on his phone – him flirting with other people. I became very insecure and jealous. Then three months later I went to his place. Things were getting better between us, and I spent two weeks with him. One day he said he needed to visit his parents so he left me at his place. When he came back I took his phone and found out that while visiting his parents, he also went to see this other girl. He had messaged her how she makes him happy.

Mind you, for the two weeks I spent at his place he never took me anywhere or took a day off for me. After that I felt like something inside of me was dead. He tried apologizing and reassuring me, but I no longer had any trust. I was bitter and angry and sad. We ended up breaking up for two months – and then he came back.

We started dating but I no longer feel the way I felt before. Most times I feel lonely. Then I met this guy in a bus and we hit it off really well. I feel alive, but at the same time I do not want to cheat on my boyfriend or hurt the new guy as well. What do I do? I’m confused about all of these feelings.

– Hurt

I was interviewing someone for the podcast the other day, and he was reminiscing about the many breakups in his life. He brought up the old Kenny Rogers hit "The Gambler" – the one where Kenny sings "you gotta "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." This podcast subject admitted that he's very bad at folding. Even if he knows a relationship should be over, he's the last to drop his cards. He can't let go first, so he waits for the other person to do it.

It sounds like you might have that problem too. This college relationship has been crumbling for a long time now. Your boyfriend betrayed your trust multiple times, and after a two-month break for clarity you've realized you no longer want to be with him. Yet, you're still trying to make it work.

Think about why you haven't let yourself walk away. Maybe it's because the relationship has been so formative – and because you love him – but not all big romantic connections are meant to last forever. These experiences can stay wonderful, as chapters in your life, if you know when to bail.

The bus crush guy isn't the answer here, but consider him a nice catalyst. Get single. Fold those cards. Then have a date with a new person. If your boyfriend tries to hang on, tell him there's no room for negotiation here, but that you wish him the best.

– Meredith

Readers? Time to fold?