My life is chaotic and uncertain - should I end my LDR?

Note: To celebrate hitting 1,000 posts about polyamory, I’m taking a break next week and answering any and all questions on other topics. You can submit your non-polyam-related questions (advice and otherwise) all this week!

Should someone be in a relationship if they are young and still in a transitional point in their life? I am 20 years old and unfortunately, with work and school- I feel like my life is a little too busy to continue my LDR but I am too scared of breaking things off with this person. Fear mostly manifesting out of hurting them.

I think it’s terribly paternalistic to end things with someone who wants to continue dating you “for their sake.” If your partner is okay with the level of attention and affection you’re currently giving them, then take them at their word that the relationship is working. Trust them enough to speak up if they are being hurt, and don’t take away something they want to keep because you think it might not be good for them later on.

But if you want to end the relationship for your own reasons - if you feel frustrated or drained or spread-thin by being in an LDR right now, if you aren’t getting what you want out of the relationship, if it’s a source of anxiety or feels like another chore on a long list of obligations - then that’s a perfectly fine reason to end a relationship. If you want to break things off, definitely do that. But if things are going pretty well but you just have a sense that you ought to consider yourself a “person too busy” to be in a relationship, you can let go of that.

It’s nearly impossible to say that there are broad circumstances under which “someone” should or should not be in a relationship. For some people, a young and transitional life is just not a healthy foundation for a romantic relationship; for others, it’s just fine. You don’t need a general pronouncement on what hypothetical people in your situation should do, you just need to figure out what’s best for you as an individual.

Talk to your partner! Ask them if they feel frustrated or let down by the circumstances of the relationship. Be honest about the fact that you can’t offer any more right now, and you want to make sure they’re okay with that. And be honest with yourself about where this fear is coming from and where your desire of ending things is coming from.