Girlfriend with terminally ill mother - lie to her, or dump her?

If you wait until later, she’ll think of all the moments she spent with you as time she could have spent with her dying mom.

Do it now.

As pseudotriton ruber ruber points out, you may have to live with the fact that a lot of people will think you’re a jerk, even if you’re not. Sometimes the right decision is not the easy one (something that took me about 40 years to learn).

here, here.

There’s never a good time to break up with someone. It’s always possible to say, “Well, now’s not a good time because she’s low” or “Well, now’s not a good time because she’s riding high” or “Well, now’s not a good time because things are stable.” It’s never a good time.

But pity isn’t a solid foundation for any sort of relationship, and the kindnesses aren’t real.

It’d be better to leave now. Her mum’s illness will probably distract her from the end of the relationship.

No point going on with what isn’t working. Just say, “Sorry this isn’t working out.”

And that’s that.

Yeah. Wasn’t exactly pleasant, but better than I’d feared. I guess I’d been thinking about it a little too much, built it up in my mind, and the reality was almost relaxed as a result. I think she’ll be okay, which is a relief. Thanks, all.

I know you’ve already made your decision and acted upon it. And good for you.

I just want to address this thinking you’ve mentioned here. For a lot of people their early moral training would emphasize that being selfish was wrong. As a starting point, especially for children, this is a great lesson. It’s not the complete lesson, IMNSHO. Being completely unselfish is often the opposite of being helpful, and can be quite destructive to the person who is trying to do ‘good’ by this rubric. Often enough it isn’t all that beneficial to the supposed beneficiary of said benevolence, either.

Simply because an action is selfish doesn’t make it automatically wrong, insensitive, or improper. As a general rule, if you find it hard to be healthily selfish it’s worth taking a moment to remind yourself that your wants and desires are just as valid as those of any one else who may be affected by your actions or decisions. I think care should be taken to minimize avoidable pain and suffering, but that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to sacrifice everything on the altar of other people’s lives and expectations.

Oh, I agree - it’s getting the point through to my emotions that’s tricky. Plus, it’s disturbingly easy to come to that sort of emotional decision without ever actually stopping and thinking about it. I already knew what the ‘right’ thing to do was, so I never thought it through.

Late to the thread, but I would only have joined my voice to the throng that said, “Better now than later, if done tactfully and as kindly as possible.” Hope life is better for you now.

How much, if at all, do you think she now wants to keep you in her support network?

I think for the vast majority of people, everything we do is for selfish reasons. If we’re being all charitable and giving stuff away and doing things for other people, it’s ultimately because we feel good when we do these things. If doing things for other people didn’t give us some kind of satisfaction then most people wouldn’t do it. That’s not to imply that it is any way bad (on the contrary it’s good, if doing things for others makes us feel good then that is a good thing), but I think when you come to the realisation that we are always trying to make ourselves feel good you can make more objective decisions about how exactly you go about it. Don;t worry so much about appearing to be selfish, everything you do will be, in some way, selfish, do what will work best for both parties over the long term (even if it makes neither of you feel that great in the short term.)

My priest is fond of saying, “I never met a motive that wasn’t mixed.” :wink:

You know, you can actually break up with her and still be supportive as a friend. You just won’t be in a romantic relationship anymore.

I always question OPs like this though. It kinda sounds like you don’t really care one way or the other and that you are just taking a public opinion poll.

Tell her you don’t want to be there, and leave. You do her no service to pretend she can rely on you emotionally when she can’t.