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Asking for a friend: ‘I’m in my late twenties and still with my childhood sweetheart. I feel like we’re living a middle-aged life. Am I missing out on having fun with the lads?’

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'If everyone has been assuming you will get married, it may have been hard to have had the freedom to envision a different path'

'If everyone has been assuming you will get married, it may have been hard to have had the freedom to envision a different path'

'If everyone has been assuming you will get married, it may have been hard to have had the freedom to envision a different path'

Q: I’ve been with my partner since we were in school, and we are now in our late twenties. We grew up together, and our families get on great. Everyone is always saying they can’t wait for our wedding, and it’s started to make me nervous. My friends aren’t close to settling down and I’m starting to wonder if my relationship is right for me. I wonder if I’m missing out and should be out there partying instead. They are going on lads’ holidays, and my girlfriend and I never seem to go anywhere. I feel like I’m living a middle-aged life. Do I break up with my partner, or just stay and hope that things change? I feel like something needs to change, but I don’t know what — or when. We have lived together for the past five years and would be looking into getting a mortgage in the next couple of years. Maybe I’m just getting cold feet?

Dr West replies: Are your friends all truly having a great time, or is there a possibility that some of them envy what you have, and don’t actually enjoy the single life? Not everyone is able to open up and be honest about feeling lonely or craving a long-term relationship. Some might think that they would be perceived as weak or desperate, but this shouldn’t be the case. We are more likely to find a partner when we are honest about what we want, whether that is the type of relationship we are looking for or explaining what our values and boundaries are. It helps us narrow down our search, and also helps us to avoid disappointment. Things don’t change by themselves, and a happy and healthy relationship involves work to keep it fresh and nourishing. It won’t be exciting and wild all the time, as the rest of your life takes priority at times, but with work, love and communication, we can work on issues as they come up.


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