Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bride to Be or Not to Be

Q: Hi Haley, I have a question about my boyfriend. We are both 21 and attend the same college, and have dated since we were college freshman. Strangely enough, we are both from the same city in MI which is where our families live and where we stay for summer break and winter break. 

Recently, my boyfriend has been talking about marriage, including me moving with him to work in Washington DC. He is in public relations and it is important that he lives there. Personally, I am not opposed to living there to be with him but if it were up to me, I would want to live further up in Boston or NYC, or possibly California. Again though, I could probably learn to like it if my boyfriend was there. The problem is, I kind of feel like my boyfriend is doing away with my own plans and only paying attention to his. I want to write for a Boston, LA, or NYC newspaper, it has always been my dream. He knows this but also says that Washington is a great place to do it. I know it is, but it's not my ideal place. 

I just don't know if I am ready to get married and drop my whole life for someone. We will be graduating soon, me before him, and then it will be decision time, but I don't know what to say to him anymore. He wants to have kids soon, and he also wants to have a wife that is home a lot. I know that I can be home but I am not going to drop my job and have kids while I am 24, 25? It's just scaring me. I love him, but I don't know if I can marry him.

I know my question is convoluted but what do I do now? Thank you so much.


A: Deena, don't even worry about it. I know exactly what you are trying to ask.

The truth is, college relationships can be fun, rewarding, and even turn into life-long, happy marriages. However, the vast majority do not. Often they are rife with drama and immaturity, or, like in your case, it is simply a matter of mismatched goals. That being said, you might not like what I'm going to tell you.

You have been with this guy for how long, 2, 2 and 1/2 years? Yes, it's a long time, but you may need to reconsider whether you can even be with this guy any more, let alone marry him. You say that he is disregarding your goals. You are 21, Deena, you should be living out your dreams to the fullest and it should be on YOUR terms, not his. You are not married yet and these types of compromises are completely unnecessary given your circumstances. You can't be with a guy who doesn't respect what's most important to you.

It's also weird that he is talking about kids so early. Everyone talks about marriage and children once they get deep into a relationship, but having KIDS? 2 or 3 years from now? Yeah, I'm sorry, but it doesn't sound like you're down for that, and I don't blame you.

It just sounds like your boyfriend is immature and a little self-centered--nothing TOO out of the ordinary, but I don't think that's what you need. Unless two college-aged people have similar post-graduation goals, family plans, and living plans, they probably won't last together after college. It's unfortunate, but I'm just letting you know.

Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to stay with your boyfriend is up to you. Despite your mismatches, you may still feel like your boyfriend is kind, helpful, respectful, and all-around wonderful. If you really feel this way, then ride it out for a little longer. In any case, I wish you the best of luck.

--Dr. O.

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