Good day everyone. I had to create a separate account to ask for some insights on this topic, for various reasons.
The story is long, so I'll try to summarize it in bullets for you:
I am in a 2.5 year long relationship.
It's a long-distance relationship; we see each other once a month.
She's over 10 years older than me. I am in my late 20s, she is about to be 40.
Age difference made me uneasy from the start. Very quickly I stopped caring of people looking at us. However, I am to this date uneasy in the inside, feeling I am skipping a stage in my life continuously, her older looks, her older-like behavior, and other stuff I can't pinpoint just yet. I can't sleep sometimes due to it. Likely a highly superficial issue, but I am nowhere close to reducing my ego to the minimum just yet.
She has just about every quality I would want in a girl, and in a girlfriend. She is a keeper!
We've been together half decade before. Every time I felt lonely, I tried to reach her. Until we eventually started dating again.
We had a talk early on about marriage/children started by me, concerned I might be wasting her "more limited" time (tbh, probably wanted to use it as a way out of the relationship). She said that, if it's not bound to happen to her, she'd be fine (or "fine") with it - but also that she is tired looking out there and meeting new people. I feel she's been extra flexible with me due to her limited options or willingness to go out.
I can't picture marrying her, and it's hard to picture living with her (even if we sorta did for a couple weeks, which is a good demo). It wasn't difficult to picture this for me with other couple girlfriends on the past - of my age.
She is honestly happy with me, and she loves me. I am happy when I'm with her, and parts of me love her, but lately it's been getting harder to say "I love you" back.
Lately I felt relief imagining these odd scenarios on which she'd break up with me for X or Y reason.
Important: For the past 6 months or some, I've been more reluctant of telling people I have a girlfriend, only doing so if asked directly.
Now, the current status and problem:
I am now abroad on a trip.
Met my roommate where I am staying. A very nice, shy girl. I instantly liked her.
We started to hang out, talked a lot, stayed up late a few times just talking and enjoying each other's presence.
I treated this in a very friendly and innocent manner, but aware there were feelings for her, which I would just have to suck up and let go.
Had a bad conversation with my girlfriend about me extending the stay (due to work - although inside I was happy I'd spend more time with my roommate). My gf was mostly understanding but noticeably irritated and sounded like she felt she was the only one trying to get us to spend time together. She is likely correct.
Next day, my roommate and I go to a bar and drink, then come back to the place. You all know what happened next.
There is an important culture clash, but we care about each other. That said, due to many geographical reasons it is likely we won't see each other again, even if that isn't our intentions (this was not a one night stand - we have strong feelings growing quickly for each other)
We are basically dating without talking about it, probably cause we are aware of the limited time we have together.
I didn't want to hurt my gf, so I proceeded to only tell her my issues with moving forward with our relationship, my problem with the age difference. I came in clean with just about everything. That took some balls.
I did this because I don't have the balls to be 100% honest, and also because I don't want to hurt her "unnecessarily". Either case, I feel like if I can have such strong feelings with other women, I might not be feeling fulfilled or that happy or something else (please tell me), and therefore it's best we don't stay together, to not repeat this in the future.
She seems to have mixed feelings between still trying to make it work for a little longer even if we don't move in together (fairly important in long-distance), and feeling sad about the whole thing, kind of wanting to drop it.
So now, the biggest issue I struggle with is:
Am I letting someone super special go because I can't deal with a (potentially) superficial issue? Or what is the issue here? Why am I so conflicted?
For over two years I couldn't deal with the age difference nor the lack of envisioning us settling down. I could stay indefinitely with her, as far as I am concerned, and just enjoying the moment,. However, I feel I would always have a foot outside the door, never fully committing. Not on this relationship. I try hard (I honestly have done so far, even if it's not described above) and I just cannot commit.
It's probably all lost now. That said, I need some external perspective to help me understand what is going on, and learn from it. To help the dust settle because it isn't.
Thank you everyone for your time.