I’ve thought about telling him, but recently he told me he doesn’t know if he can see a future with me. I asked him why he felt that way and he said that he doesn’t know. I asked him if he wanted to break up and he said no. Any attempt I make at getting more answers doesn’t get me very far. He says he doesn’t know how to feel because I’m his first girlfriend and he’s confused. I asked him if we could work this out and he says he thinks we can; that makes me confused.
I’m trying to give him time, but I’m 23 and I don’t want to spend my 20s with someone who’s going to break my heart later. But then again I love him, and I don’t want to mess up something that could be the best thing that ever happened to me. — Scared of a Broken Heart
So . . .you found someone you’re crazy about who shows you in many ways that he cares about you, but you’re thinking about breaking up with him because he can’t guarantee you, at eight months in, that he sees a future with you? What’s the rush in planning your future? It sounds like your present is just fine. Why not hang out and enjoy yourself and see where things go? You’re 23 — you have lots of years yet to settle down and start a family if that’s what you want. And if it’s not what you want, and your only concern here is a broken heart, well, I have news for you: You can get a broken heart even after someone tells you he loves you!
You can get a broken heart even after someone says he sees a future with you, even after he marries you, even after you have kids together. There is no safeguard against getting your heart broken aside from never never dating anyone or never falling in love or never letting yourself feel the joy of being cared for and wanted and desired. The risk of a broken heart is the price we pay for the chance at romantic happiness, however fleeting that happiness may be (and sometimes it isn’t fleeting–sometimes it actually lasts).
If your boyfriend is as wonderful as you say and he shows you in multiple ways that he cares, I would try to relax and enjoy this time with him. He’s probably moving a little more cautiously because you’re his first girlfriend and because he may feel some pressure from you to jump ahead before he’s ready. He may not be able to see a future with you for no other reason than he simply doesn’t look that far in advance. He may not be able to see a future with you because he doesn’t know what kind of future he even wants, with you or without you.
I’m guessing he’s as young, if not younger, than you are. You’re his first girlfriend. Can you imagine how psyched he probably is just to be in a relationship? Let him — and yourself — enjoy this moment, here, right now. If, say, in four or five months, you’re still feeling anxious about not knowing whether he loves you or sees a future with you, you can check in with him again. But if fear of the unknown, with its possibility of a broken heart, is your only reason for wanting out of this relationship at this time, I think you’d be ending it prematurely . . . and probably not really saving yourself from that broken heart anyway.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.