Q: My boyfriend and I just broke up, and I feel awful. He’s hurt, but I just didn’t think the spark was there. Am I a bad person for hurting him like this?

A: Love, in real life, is very different from the 275 page novel romance version of it. In reality, and that’s where all of us live, it is a process of trial and error. There isn’t a person out there wearing a flashing neon sign that says ‘perfect mate for …’ We all have to find our Mr. or Ms. Right by experimenting with friendships and relationships, and they won’t all work out. Online dating sites advertise that you can find your perfect match and advertise their successes, but they never show you the failure rate.

If you don’t feel that the time is right or if you feel that the spark is missing, then you have to listen to your heart. Staying in a relationship because you’re afraid that you’ll hurt the other person will do a lot more damage in the long run than ending it now. Yes, there will be hurt on both sides, but it’s a part of life and the learning process we all face. You are not a terrible person for breaking up with someone because you may not suit; you’re a realist.

When the time is right, you will find your match. Have a little faith; after all, love makes the world go round!

~ Susanne Matthews, author of Fire Angel