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Thank you declouding. It might help to hear from you if you're in a similar situation but on the other side.

I made my commitment to my girlfriend years ago and I feel like if the worst case scenario happens, I won't be able to dismiss that commitment.

I did some light research and based on the articles and book excerpts I've found, I think my girlfriend is going through her quarterlife crisis. A lot of the information makes it seem like the relationships people in their quarterlife crisis' have are often ended, but the information also implies that these relationships can't change or get better. They're something to be severed and replaced with something better.

I want to be better. I'm only 27, 28 in a couple of months. I'm still growing and changing, but I don't know how to regain her presence in my life and how to be a presence in hers to show her, even from afar, that I can - and want to be - that better person and relationship for her. I've always supported her interests and taken an interest in what she enjoys - and she's typically done the same for me. I want her to find the things she deserves, and the happiness or change she needs; but at the same time, and it's taken me a long time to lose the 'she deserves better than me' mentality (because who doesn't feel that way about themselves from time to time), I know I'm willing and able to fulfill my obligation to her in a successful relationship.

The problem is that I don't know what to do with myself, socially, in the meantime. I have a hard time talking to my friends now because I'm afraid to face them, afraid to break down in front of them. The thought of making new friends is equally upsetting. What if they ask me if I'm single? If I'm seeing anyone? It hurts to acknowledge these things to strangers because I feel like a simple yes/no answer just doesn't adequately explain what's going on, and I simply don't want to build new social relationships upon some convoluted life story.

I look at photos of us and her and my heart breaks all over again but I don't want to delete her from my life just to protect myself from hurting like this. Occasionally someone will tell me that I won't be able to meet another woman unless I move on. Frankly, that's something I'm not interested in thinking about. I met the person for me already. I just don't understand how to be that person for her, when she's ready to look at me like that again. I don't want to force her to believe in something she has no confidence in, but everything that's happened over the last 8-9 years says that she had a lot of confidence in us. That she loved me and wanted to spend her life with me. How am I supposed to ignore that?

I can't claim to know her thoughts or understand everything she's feeling because she still hasn't actually spoken with me. Still, based on what research I did on the quarterlife crisis, I don't think you have to necessarily sever these ties you've built over a long period of time. Maybe that seems selfish or naive to others. I'm not trying to be. I'm trying to make sense of this while trying to make sure I'm there for my friend when she needs it. At the same time I have to acknowledge and deal with how I feel, and I feel that I can't love anyone else as much as I've loved - and still love - her.

As juvenile and sad as it sounds to actually write or say out loud, if I can't have her than I don't want anyone else. She gave me the courage to change and grow, she loved me so much and she was my first in so many ways; and best of all, she let me be a part of her life, to make her laugh and smile, and trusted me enough to seek my counsel when she was hurting or worried. She was my best friend. I can't replace those things, or forget them. I'm sad to think that it's either her or a life alone. I gave her my heart - a piece of me - and I can't take it back. Even if she never looks upon it she will always have it. It was all I had to give. There's nothing left.

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