I want to break up with my partner because the relationship has been deteriorating for a long time, but I know this will hurt him deeply. What should I do?

Lama Ole’s answer:

For relationships that are structurally dysfunctional or have a misdirected path of development, I would like to quote the most elevated English post-war prose: William Somerset Maugham said that a relationship is over the moment you wouldn’t want to use the other person’s toothbrush any longer.

For me, this is the crucial point in love. As long as you are still happy to use their toothbrush, the foundation of the relationship is alright. If you can’t do this any longer, then the relationship is over and it’s best for you to withdraw in a friendly way. End the relationship as well as you can to enable both of you to meet as friends in future lives. It is of no use to either him or you if you hold on to the relationship out of motherly or protective feelings. The quarrel that follows will be ten times worse.

Don’t sacrifice the most beautiful years of your youth for somebody who isn’t open or whom you cannot share anything with. You will waste year after year thinking of Handsome Hans while sharing your bed with Eric. Be honest with yourself. If you stay, it won’t help him either since he won’t be confronted with situations he has to take a stand on. He won’t have the chance to become a better person.