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Parallax - Advice            May 29, 2000

   She wants in on the college dating scene

Dear Conversely, Ask us a Question!

I'm twenty-one and finishing my junior year in college back East. I have a boyfriend in L.A., where I grew up, and we've been going steady for about a year and a half. The thing is, he's really committed, and I really love him, but I feel like I'm missing out on having more fun out here at school. I feel that I only have one year left, so should I continue to date him and be faithful? Or should I break it off and go out with other boys here? I feel like everyone else is hooking up left and right and I'm just sitting pretty and missing out. Still, I really do love him and I don't want to hurt him. Should I break it off over the summer?

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Her view:

Dear Excluded,

Hooking up left and right is over-rated, I promise. If you really love your boyfriend, I would stick it out. It's true you only go to college once and it is quite a fiesta, so I can understand your concern. But I would bet that all those people with their fancy hook-ups would give anything to be in your shoes and be in love - there really is nothing better. The reason they are hooking up all the time is because they haven't found what they're looking for, and they would trade places with you in a second.

And why would you break up over the summer? Summer is when the two of you can be together. I advise you spend it with him instead, and try to make it work. You sound like you are a great couple and just separated for now. You only have a year apart - surely you can make it that far?

If this is not satisfactory, there is of course the 'seeing other people' option, which allows both of you to go out and have a good time, and then come back to each other. Sounds good in theory but it's very tough to execute - you would need to be comfortable with him fooling around with other girls while you're not around - and that's a difficult one. However, if you can both swing it - it does solve the immediate short term problem.

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His view:

Dear Excluded,

My recommendation, with one caveat, is that you begin seeing and dating some of the schoolboys back East. There's an invaluable benefit to the diversity of experiences higher education offers, and meeting and relating with new people is no exception - even if it's not part of the official curriculum.

How else are you going to know if L.A.-man is the right one, if you can't compare him with anyone else? How will you judge the intensity of your affection for him, and his for you, if you've not been seriously involved with other men? I imagine you could be forever plagued by self-doubt, and never be fully confident of your own feelings, if you don't have a way to put your current relationship in perspective. And the same goes for him: even if you were absolutely sure he was the one for you, would you be certain he was as confident in his feelings about you?

However, I don't think you should just break it off with him. That is too drastic. Instead, try a negotiated solution in which you both agree to see other people. It is essentially a break-up, but it keeps the relationship alive (in a different form) and makes a future re-union easier to initiate.

Just make sure you are prepared for this change before suggesting it. If you can soberly bear the thought of him seeing other people, then go for it - if not, maybe you're not as ready to co-mingle as you think you are.

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