My boyfriend and I are applying to many of the same colleges. We went to high school together, and also to a local community college together. Now we are ready to move on to a university.
I am getting a little bit nervous. We have been dating for two years, and we have been friends for four years.
My boyfriend wants to go away to the same college that I will go to. I don’t really like that idea. The idea of gong away to school together feels like a much larger commitment than I am ready for.
I would like the excitement of going off to separate schools. I think it would be a good chance for us to grow and develop on our own, rather than as a couple.
I have a feeling that if I try to talk to him about this, that all he will hear is “we are breaking up.”
That really is not what I want. I just want adventure and growth. How can I talk to him about this without sounding like I want to end things?
Signed, Free Spirit
Dear Free Spirit,
The truth is, you may not be able to explain it to him without sounding as if you want to end things. You are right in that he may only hear the words “break up.”
There is a reason for this. Many couples that are in love would not want to go to separate schools unless there was no other choice. Many of them would enjoy going to college together.
Of course that is not always possible. There can be financial reasons, such as not being able to afford to go to the same school.
Or there can be logistical reasons, such as one of the people being able to live with a relative in the college town and saving money on rent.
But many times, when a person does not want to go to the same school as their boyfriend or girlfriend it really is because they are ready to move on and experience everything that a new college has to offer. This includes meeting new people, and perhaps dating them.
You mention that you feel like going to school together is a “large commitment.” That really sounds like you want some time apart at least. Or, deep down, you may really want to end the exclusive relationship with him.
You do need to tell your boyfriend how you are feeling. But you must accept the strong possibility that he may not be willing to accept that you want to do it, and still be a couple. He may be hurt that you don’t want to go to the same school.
Please remember that if you do break up, it does not mean that at some point, after you go your separate ways, that you may get back together again. But it can also mean that you will grow in different directions.
I am currently 20 years old. I live with my family. I am the oldest of three kids. My two younger brothers are always getting into trouble.
One of my brothers recently went to a party where alcohol was served. My parents found out, and they hit the roof.
My other brother does not take his schoolwork seriously. He is smart, and could be an “A” student. However, he does not work hard, and he gets “B’s” and a “C” or two.
I, on the other hand, have never caused them any grief. I got straight “A”s in most of my high school classes, and I am doing very well in college. I also am carrying my financial load with a part time job.
They were very proud of me when I was in high school. They always told me so. However, I am now feeling very left out at home. I feel like my parents fail to acknowledge that I even exist.
They never ask me about my school or my work. They have no idea what my hopes and dreams are.
The only time I get their attention is when I come home late, or when they need me to do something for my brothers.
I understand that my siblings are a handful, but I feel as if they don’t even care about me.
How can I make them understand how I am feeling without making them feel like I am criticizing them? In my culture, it is wrong to criticize one’s parents.
Signed, Invisible Child
Dear Invisible Child,
I am sure that your parents do not mean to be hurting you. I am sure that they are very proud of you. I think that they are assuming that you know that, without them saying so.
I know that it would be very nice for you to hear these things from them. It would not be being critical for you to mention to them that you would like to know if they are still proud of you. I suspect that you will find out that they are.
However, there is something else for you to consider. As you get older, you should rely less on the approval of your family.
You should want to succeed and do well because you want to be proud of yourself. Part of reaching adulthood is making decisions on your own. You shouldn’t need to go to them for positive reinforcement as much as you did when you were younger.
Continue to focus on your own hopes and dreams. And be proud when you accomplish them. When it comes right down to it, you are the one that you need to please, not your parents.
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