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I've been a member of these boards for a while, and I have found everyone to always be so kind and offer such unbiased advice - so that is why I find myself here after I just broke up with my live-in boyfriend of nearly 3 years last night.

I just turned 21 this past year, and he just turned 23. I love him dearly, but this past year I was just getting a "vibe" that he wasn't THE one. Lots of little things were building up inside of me, and I can't quite put my finger on it but it was just a cloud of doubt surrounding me that told me "don't jump into marriage with him...he's not for you."

These past couple months, I had started having a crush on a coworker and I could feel it intensifying between us... nothing physical, more of an emotional thing. I started hiding things from my boyfriend. I started wanting to go out more, have fun with friends, drink, and have a good time... none of which my boyfriend wanted anything to do with. He has always been a homebody, not very social, and doesn't like drinking. I felt as though I was putting him second to other things in my life, and I believe that the one who you are meant to be with -- well, you should WANT to put them first in every way. I just wasn't feeling that. I loved him, but my heart just wasn't into it because all I could think about was those feelings of doubt. I have always believed that you will never have any doubt about the person you are meant to spend the rest of your life with.

I put an end to our relationship last night, and it was completely unexpected for him. The best way I could describe to him the reason for this sudden break up was that I just "had doubts" and that I had a "feeling" that this wasn't right. He moved all of his things out in two hours, and now I am here, in an empty apartment, feeling so alone. I feel guilty because throughout our relationship he would ask if I really wanted to marry him, and I would always say yes, just because I didn't have the heart to tell him otherwise.

I feel overwhelmed with guilt. We had two cats together, and they were practically our children - we both doted on these cats and loved them so much, but technically they were both mine, so they are here with me at the apartment. I know he is feeling so much pain, because it all happened so sudden and unexpectedly.

I have been crying almost non-stop, and I keep questioning myself if this was the right decision. I can't concentrate on my studies, and I can barely even force myself to smile. I feel hopeless. I feel as though I ruined his life...actually, I know I did. He now has to live back with his parents, alone, without our sweet cats which he LOVED, and above all, he does not have the person he "thought" was his soulmate. I feel awful. I know he was under a lot of stress anyways b/c of school and work, and now I just added this on top of it all - just pulled the rug right out from under him.

I feel so selfish, but at the same time, I couldn't stand to just let my college years pass me by without having a social life. I haven't been single since I was probably 16 years old... I feel I need to get out there and see the world, be independent, and find someone who I without a doubt want to be with.

Am I selfish???? How long does it take to get over something like this??? I feel so hopeless right now, like I will never find my soulmate. Above all, I feel LONELY, so lonely. Going to bed alone and waking up alone is probably the worst feeling ever. I thought once I dumped my boyfriend I would want to go out and hang with friends and be "free" but right now, that's not what I want to do either. I am so depressed!!! :(:(:(:(:(

I suppose what I am looking for is just some encouragement or kind words of wisdom or ANYTHING really... I just need input right now. I am so lost, and I want this sadness to go away. :(:(:( Please, help.
Thank you everyone for your replies. I just wanted to clear some things up that I probably should have addressed in my first post...

My boyfriend was never the social type. Throughout our relationship, he lost many friends b/c he claimed, "I give them up for you." I have never believed in giving up social time or friends for a boyfriend, no matter how in love you are. This didn't correspond with my values.

So I still yearned to go out with friends and be social, but he frowned upon many of my friends. He is the one who told me that I always put myself and my friends before him, and he didn't like that. He began trying to control who I hung out with. We had many talks about this, throughout the relationship. Things were not changing.

I am a fun person. I like to do things, go places, have a good time... and I'm not referring to just "drinking." Many times I pleaded with my boyfriend to go to a baseball game with me, go to wine country and do some wine and cheese tasting, go to the movies, go on vacation with me, (I even offered to pay IN FULL! I was THAT desperate) or do a number of other "couple" things, but he ALWAYS had an excuse... no time, didn't feel like it, weather wasn't quite perfect enough, etc. etc. I felt my life was becoming so mundane. I saw friends who had long term boyfriends and they had stacks and stacks of pictures of themselves with boyfriend doing all kinds of fun things. To me, that is what is fun about being a couple with someone you love - you can share in the experiences of life! My boyfriend would rather always just "relax" at home. I felt I needed more in life.

But I did express to him many times about what I felt I needed from him, but he just couldn't give enough. It wasnt his fault - I just felt I needed something more that I just couldn't get out of him because it wasn't there to begin with.

Ok. Hope this makes a little more sense. Although I am 21, I didn't dump him just so I could go make the circuit on the party scene, but yes, part of my decision was fueled by the desire to have more independence without someone else breathing down my neck about every decision I wish to make.

I feel as though I have a good head on my shoulders, I am already in an accelerated program at my university, starting my MBA program before I even graduate. I get good grades, I feel I have good friends, and I have a steady job I enjoy.

But yes, anyways, I am still feeling desperately sad and depressed, and above all, guilty. I hate this. How long does it take for the feeling to go away? What is the best way to deal with things? I hear keeping yourself busy is good, but all I want to do is lie in bed and sob. :( Please keep the posts coming, it does brighten my day to read them, whether good or bad.

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