DEAR ABBY: I have been dating “Brandon” for three years. I’m 19, going to a four-year college and I’m planning to move in with him. I enjoy his company and can see myself with him in the future, but I wish I hadn’t met him so young. I wish I could have experienced more — other people and situations. I’m afraid I’m falling into a trap where it is more convenient to stay with Brandon.
I don’t want to feel confined, but I also don’t want to break up with him and find it was the worst decision of my life. We have discussed it. He said he will understand if I want to leave, but I’m afraid it might destroy him.
I enjoy being around Brandon, but I don’t want to stay if it means missing half my life. He isn’t the most attractive guy compared to others, so maybe that’s where all this is coming from. More attractive guys talk to me, and I assume they would treat me as well as Brandon does. Maybe that’s what has got me thinking. Some advice, please? — Not Sure in North Carolina
DEAR NOT SURE: Feeling as ambivalent as you do, do not move in with Brandon. To do so would be cheating both of you. Because someone seems more physically attractive than your boyfriend does not guarantee the person would treat you as well or better than Brandon does. However, this is a lesson you may need to experience firsthand.
It could also be a growth experience for Brandon to date others. He has already told you he will understand if you leave, so he may be emotionally stronger than you give him credit for. This does not mean you won’t eventually wind up together, but it may make you both more appreciative of the special relationship you share because you will have something to compare it to.
Wants to be closer to mom
DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old girl who would like to fix my relationship with my mom. I love her dearly, but sometimes it is difficult to spend time with her. We have different tastes in music, clothes and what is fun. I know she notices the distance between us and would like to spend more time together, but the things she suggests we do don’t appeal to me.
Dad and I are close, which is probably because he’s more like a kid. We have similar likes, and he isn’t as overprotective as Mom is. We’re more like friends than father and daughter.
I really want to be closer to Mom, but I don’t know how to do it so we’ll both be satisfied. Is this a normal teen thing? — Making an Effort
DEAR MAKING AN EFFORT: Yes, I think so. However, I’m pleased that you want to build a closer relationship with your mother because, at your age, it’s important. Being a mother these days isn’t easy, especially if being the disciplinarian and drawing the line is a role that was “assigned” to her by an overly permissive father who prefers to be more of a pal than a parent.
You and your mother need to compromise regarding the things you do when you’re spending time together. Part of the time, try the things she wants to do. If you do, you might surprise yourself and discover you enjoy them, and vice versa. Talk to her about your desire to be closer to her and give it a chance. I’m sure the result will be rewarding for both of you.