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Parallax - Advice

July 14, 2003

Free room & board?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I'm eighteen and recently graduated from High School. I plan to go to college this fall. My girlfriend of a year recently joined the Air Force and wants us to live together. She'd be the sole supporter for my housing and college, which is fine with her. I've tried to call the relationship off a number of times, but she dismisses it as part of my depression (something I've had long before I met her). Sometimes I feel we have nothing in common and the only thing holding us together is sex. At one point she was fine with breaking up as long as we stay friends and keep having sex. If we don't have sex she feels unloved and thinks I have a problem with her. I'm not so sure she's the right one for me and I don't want to hold her back. I feel I will be using her if I move in with her and go to college. Do I take the handout and drag on a relationship that may not last? Or do I end it now and let her move on with her life? Email to a Friend


Her view:

Dear Freddy,

It is clearly time to cut bait. It is not fair to either of you to continue in a relationship that you know is over. And taking the handout will only make you feel worse and allow for all sorts of obligations.

Bail out now, while you can. Although she says she's fine with using you for sex, she isn't, and your problems will only escalate. Combining what sounds like some depression for you, with what could turn into a nervous breakdown for her, will not make for a pleasant situation for anybody.

She'll meet someone new in no time, especially in the Air Force, where the odds are highly in her favor. And when you've collected yourself, you'll start dating someone you like enough to begin a serious relationship.

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His view:

Dear Freddy,

There's a fundamental problem with having her as your sole means of support, given how precarious your relationship seems to be. Even if she is very generous and won't use her support as a lever on you (which she may be doing already), you will always feel obligated to her. It will influence and deform your choices, potentially getting you into more trouble than it's worth. And you will always be at a disadvantage in the relationship.

It's not clear whether you have an alternative source of support for housing and college. If so, perhaps you could live with her, without the need for her support. But if her support is only available as part of a sex-and-attention deal, it strikes me as too high a price to pay.

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