I know I love Liz, but I’ve had doubts in the past about whether I’m in love with her – two different things. I used to ignore these feelings because she’s such a good, kind, and attentive person. I used to tell myself I was being silly: How can you not love her? But this experience is making me over-analyse everything and I can’t shake the constant sick feeling in my stomach that I’m making a mistake – I can’t eat, sleep, or focus. Liz isn’t anxious or doubtful at all, which makes me feel like such a bad person, especially as I’m the one that pushed this.
I can’t back out now as the lease has been signed and the deposit paid for. But I’m scared I’ve set us up for failure and that I’ll be miserable and regretful. I can always go back to my parents if it doesn’t work out, which is a comfort, but Liz won’t have anywhere else to go, which makes me feel worse, and she wouldn’t be able to afford the apartment on her own.
I feel so guilty and I hate myself so much for putting myself, and her, in this situation. I don’t want to mess up her life or break her heart down the line. I can’t talk to her about it either as it’s already a done deal and I don’t want to upset her. So what can I do to help these feelings? What does all this mean? — Regrets Signing That Lease
It doesn’t sound to me like you are questioning whether you’re in love with Liz; it sounds like you already figured out what your feelings are, but you decided to ignore them, wishing they’d change or that it wouldn’t matter if you weren’t in love with Liz – that maybe somehow just loving her and liking her would be enough. It sounds to me like that’s exactly what the shared lease is supposed to help you figure out. And lucky you to have a soft place to land if this experiment leads you to the decision that a non-romantic kind of love isn’t enough for you to sustain a romantic relationship.
There are two things you can do now: break the lease, take the financial hit, break up, and move on. Liz will have all the feelings you’re afraid she’s going to have, and she will be fine. In six months, her life will be back on track. She’ll be in an apartment she can afford either alone or with a roommate, and her heart will be healing (maybe already healed!) and she will be a long way into picking up the pieces of your broken relationship.
The second thing you can do is not break the lease, move in with Liz, continue feeling all the anxiety and dread you feel now, eventually break up with Liz, and move on – perhaps at the one-year mark of your lease, thereby saving yourselves the financial hit of losing your deposit but still paying for moving costs twice in 12 months and so not even really saving yourself much money at all. Maybe you’ll even lose money that way if moving costs are higher than the deposit. AND you will have delayed Liz’s getting over you and moving on. Instead of being back on track in six months, she won’t be back on track for at least 18 months.
You’re not doing anyone any favors indulging in this experiment. It’s selfish, and, frankly, cowardly. And I don’t mean you’re a coward for not breaking up with Liz; I mean, it’s cowardly to give in to the fear of being alone. Feel it and accept it and live authentically in spite of the fear. Quit denying yourself the opportunity of finding a person who’s a true match in all the most meaningful ways. Don’t settle for a platonic kind of love if what you want is romantic love. As you’ve learned, they are not the same, and the former won’t fulfill the need and want for the latter. It just won’t.
In the end, losing a deposit is a small price to pay for sparing two people a year of disappointment and potentially years of resentment afterward.