My boyfriend has told me that he wants to go travelling for eight months, with or without me. I'm 34 and my boyfriend is 28,
and we've been going out for two years.
He was made redundant from his job a few months ago, and luckily got quite a decent payout.
I always thought he'd use that money to go back into education and re-train, but over Christmas he told me that he's "caught the travelling itch" and that the New Year feels like the right time to do it.
He's asked me to go with him, but the problem is that I'm not in a position to just up sticks and leave.
I'm in a management position at work, plus I have a mortgage.
What's more, if I'm honest, I don't want to go either.
I spent a year travelling in my early 20s, so I feel as if I've gotten it out of my system.
He says he still wants to go, even though I can't.
He says he wants to clear his head and get a change of scene to help him to decide what to do next.
I don't want him to leave, but I also don't want to keep down a dream of his either.
I love him very much, and I know he loves me. It's not that I don't trust him, but, having travelled myself, I know what that experience is like and the opportunities it presents to try new things and meet new people.
He keeps assuring me that nothing will happen, that our relationship will keep going and that we can just pick up where we left off once he returns.
But a lot can happen in eight months.
What if he falls for someone new? What if he decides not to come back?
I'm terrified that this will be the end of our relationship, but I know he'll resent me if I stop him from going, too.
What can I do? Karen
Poor you. This is one of those dilemmas where it seems there can be no right answer.
I can only advise you based on my experiences in the past and hope that I can help to guide you in the right direction.
I think the first point is the fact that there is an age difference between the two of you, and this is only becoming apparent in the choices that both of you wish to make.
Your boyfriend wishes to take the opportunity of redundancy payout and see a bit of the world, and I can understand that you do not wish to give up your position and possibly jeopardise your mortgage, etc, to accompany him.
With the awful recession that is happening now, he is probably wise to take off to see the world and grow with all his new-gained experiences.
If he were to stay and re-train through further education, there is still no guarantee that there would be a job available to him at the end of that period.
Most Irish people do so well abroad and, as a result, gain hugely in confidence and real life skills.
Perhaps these are what he would bring home with him, which could be far more valuable than an extra up-skill course here.
If you were to try and persuade him to stay, the danger is that after some time he could build up a resentment towards you in frustration over not following his own dream.
Once that sets in, it's almost impossible for the relationship to work.
So, against all your better instincts and worries, the best you can do is to encourage him to do what's right for him.
That's what true love really is: putting the other person first.
Doing this, he will go away with you in the right place in his heart.
Yes, there are no guarantees that you will stay together, but eight months is a very short time, and nowadays it's so easy to keep in touch with Skype and Facebook.
With all the travelling and touring I do, I know that long-distance relationships are doable.
So the best chance for you as a couple is to send him off, let him mature and miss you.
Then, when he comes home, you can both figure out what's best for you two as a couple.
And by the way, nothing beats the excitement of seeing your loved one after a distance apart!