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By November 20, 2011

He’s talking marriage but I just want to be free!

Dear Ms HeartBeat:
I am 18 years old and a freshman in college. I have been going out with my 22 year old boyfriend for almost 3 years. He works full time, has his own house, and has all of the responsibilities of a normal adult. I know that I love him, and we have been through a lot together. He is a great guy, my parents love him, and he has a very bright future ahead of him.

So I’ll bet you are asking, “why is there a problem?” Well, I left Fresno and have been at college here a month, and he is not dealing with it well at all. He is very jealous, and the fact that I live in a coed dorm doesn’t help things.

Every time I talk to him, he has some jab to make about the guys on my floor or something to that extent. I went to a party with my roommate last Friday and had an absolute blast. We were drinking, but we had a great time. I ended up kissing another guy. Now, I do not believe in blaming actions on alcohol. I feel that I did this because I wanted to. But, I just don’t understand why. If I have such a great guy, then why do I feel the need to be with other guys? Another puzzling thing is that I totally enjoyed the whole experience with this guy. I can’t quit thinking about him.

I feel that I am at a crossroad right now. Before me lies my whole future, and my decisions are going to have huge impacts on that future. I know that if I stay with my boyfriend, I will probably not live on campus next year. It is too much strain on myself and him to deal with being apart like this. He can’t deal with it, and I can’t continually deal with his problems because of this.

But, he is at the age where he is thinking about marriage, and we have talked about this. He is definitely someone that I want to marry, but I am questioning everything right now. My other option is to break up with him, and be free. I feel that there is a part of me trying to break free, and this part of me I don’t think would mesh well with his lifestyle.

Being alone this last weekend gave me a taste of freedom, and it felt great. But the problem with breaking up with him is that his previous girlfriend broke up with him after she went off to college, and it totally destroyed him. He was heartbroken for a long time after that. I don’t want to break his heart that way, because it isn’t his fault that I am feeling this way.

We are so committed to each other–he has even already bought 40 acres of land so that we can build a house together after I get out of college. We have so many plans together.

I guess my question is, do you think the sacrifice of giving up my youthful freedom for the next four years is worth saving a true love? This probably sounds like a strange question, but I am so torn right now. I am afraid to be alone, and I don’t want to hurt my boyfriend, but I feel this strong calling to be free and have as much fun as I can while I am still young. Please help! This is totally stressing me out!


Dear Wrecked:
You are wise to question your path before you succumb to pressure and marry this guy only to end up miserable (and divorced). In my opinion, the time to spread your wings, be free, and experience new things is during your college years. This transitory period which moves you from childhood to young adulthood is when a young woman should experiment with types of men, hobbies, interests, lifestyles. These “finding yourself” activities are best engaged in while you are young and without the responsibilities or obligations of a children, a husband and a mortgage.

If you forego all those experiences and miss out on the growth that comes with them, how would you ever know who you could become as a woman? You came into this world alone and you are going to leave it alone as well. The time you spend in the interim kicking up dust vs. being tied to some fella that views you as his property is nothing to be afraid of — rejoice! There is plenty of time for marriage and commitment in the future.

A great fear of being alone motivates thousands of women to remain in unhappy relationships. Most young women are raised to be people pleasers – they don’t say “no!” to men, and feel tremendous guilt unless they sacrifice their own desires and goals in order to make some man happy. Many women are also abused mentally, emotionally and physically, disrespected and mistreated, but they stay because they believe they are nothing without a man. It’s always bothered me and I wonder why so many women sell themselves short and don’t believe they deserve better.

From my perspective, your boyfriend is creating much of this drama he’s experiencing for himself. I mean, if he is tired of having women that “leave for college” and leave him at the same time, he should be dating older females that are past that stage of life. If you know you don’t want something to happen to you, why please yourself in the same set of circumstances again and again?

This is your time!

Get your education, spread your wings and enjoy yourself. Be safe, be smart, and be successful. Travel the world and meet lots of people from many different cultures. Learning takes place every day, and is not now and never has been limited to the walls of a university. Once you are satisfied with the woman you have become, choose a man that is truly right for you. Never, ever settle for a man because he wants you, or because he is the only thing you know.

A woman of strength and courage does what she believes is right for her, without considering other people’s disapproval or guilt trips. The ability to make such a stand is the mark of maturity.

So go ahead and do what you need to do and be with the man that sets your soul on fire! Life is too short to be lived in the shadows, playing it safe.

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Relationship and dating advice columnist of Ask HeartBeat! Has enjoyed dishing out insightful yet hilariously funny advice, tersely worded reality checks and "let me slap you upside the head" wake up calls to men and women around the globe since 1991.

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Relationship and dating advice columnist of Ask HeartBeat! Has enjoyed dishing out insightful yet hilariously funny advice, tersely worded reality checks and "let me slap you upside the head" wake up calls to men and women around the globe since 1991.

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