I've been afraid of changing, cause I built my life around you
So my boyfriend and I met when I was 18 turning 19 and he was 35. I had never been with anyone, I had barely dated. I'm an attractive girl but have always had low self-esteem and social anxiety. He's so outgoing and funny. We've been together for almost five years. He's my best friend and has been the only stable thing in my life. When I was 18 my mother ran off, taking my younger sister with her, I haven't seen either of them since, and my father commited suicide when I was a child. I was in a bad place when we first met and was so glad just to have someone love me and want me. I had myself believing in that "someday" with someone else, he was too, much to his own suprise. He was never the "settle down" type, he said that he's never loved anyone before me, that he never thought he'd feel the way he does. I wish I could love him like he does me. He's my best friend, I love him so much, but I'm not attracted to him. I know, we've been together for five years and just now this is an issue. I'd never been with anyone before him. In the very beginning, I was naive and thought it normal, later I was so comsumed by that "someday" and wanted to love him as ardently as he loved me. Now that day is coming and it's dawned on me that I'm not ready. We haven't been physical in so long and I know I'm hurting him, but he still cares for and loves me, we still get along so well. I'm so scared for him to leave. I'm scared to be alone and to not have him there, To not laugh with him everyday, he's in a lot of ways my whole world. Everyone I love leaves me, as pathetic as that sounds. I know we could never be just friends, that's not fair to him, and I'm just not in love with him. It's like that lyric from "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac: "I've been afraid of changing, cause I built my life around you". I just don't know where to go from here. It's going to hurt so bad to hurt him, to be alone, to want to call him and know I can't. I haven't given a go at life on my own, what if he's the only person who will ever love me, what if I never found someone I can laugh and talk with like him. I just want to want him like he does me so life can go on happily and not be painful and complicated. My life's only ever been pain, and now that one part of it has to go away. I don't know if I'm asking a question. Maybe just venting. Please share any opinions or thoughts, it would be helpful. Thank you for reading.
I'm so sad to read all the pain you are in and have been for most of your life. I can't begin to imagine all the obstacles you have had to overcome. What I'm feeling towards your problem is that right now, you are the one that's hurt and hurting everyday. It is very noble of you to want to protect his feelings as he did yours for 5 years. He did help you a great deal and you should be greatfull for it, but I don't think he would want to know that you're hurting like that. You can't spend your life unhappy because you don't want to hurt him. The fairest thing to do for the both of you would be to talk to him about it and see if there's a way to still be there for each other.
I'm no expert but that's my opinion. I know it's scary to find yourself without the only person who's been there for you, but what tells you that you won't meet your perfect match tomorrow or in 2 months, The person that's gonna really make all of that seem far away, that you will not only feel loved but love them too.
My personal opinion is that if you do not love him and are not attracted to him, then you should part ways. The fear of a breakup with someone you deeply care about, and the fear of being alone, are often more terrifying than the actual reality of it when it happens. It is very painful to lose the person you confide in and laugh with, and there are many painful pangs of missing them terribly, but these do pass. I stayed in a couple of relationships that weren't working, for too long, because of that overwhelming fear. After the break-up, I decided to start tackling my own social anxiety and low-self esteem. I made sure to get out and meet people, to interact with strangers, and to put myself in challenging situations I wasn't used to, and to set myself goals and achieve them. The better I felt about myself, the less scared I was that I had made a mistake, and though I felt sad about the break-up, I knew I'd done the right thing. You met him when you were a teenager and it sounds like you haven't really had time to find yourself, because he has been there as a companion and a cushion. This could be a chance for you to explore wider possibilities, and you never know who you could meet. Hurting someone you care about feels heartbreaking, but it is sometimes the kindest thing to do, as it gives them the opportunity to find someone who loves them and wants a physical relationship with them. If you decide to stay, do try and work on your self-esteem, because that might help you think clearer, and have more confidence in our decisions. Best of luck!