Q. I’m currently a sophomore in college and the “Love Letters” podcast really helped me get through my freshman year.
My boyfriend and I met working at an outdoor program for kids. I was just 17 and in high school. He had a girlfriend for a year and a half before we started dating our senior year, but he was my first serious boyfriend. We started dating casually, agreeing that we would break up before college to get a new start.
I got into one school and my boyfriend wound up at a school a two-hour bus ride away. Within a month of school starting, we had reconciled and began visiting frequently. I’ll admit, the East Coast is really lonely a lot of the time. We both had no issues making friends and being happy where we’re from, but here, it’s very difficult. This still feels like the most unconditionally loving relationship I have in my life. It seems silly to think that I’ve found someone I can’t imagine my life without at the age of 20, but that is the position we are both in.
With COVID, we still see each other somewhat regularly. I have the best time when I’m with him, but it’s hard not to imagine how life would be different if we weren’t together. I wonder if I would have put myself out there more and found the kinds of people and friends I’m feeling desperate for, but at the same time, our relationship is the healthiest one I’ve had in my entire life, including friends and family.
I guess I just want some advice from people with more life experience. Am I being held back by leaning so heavily on this fantastic two-year relationship or do you think I possibly have just met my person a lot earlier than anyone else I know? Sometimes I wish college would go faster so that we could live together and be happy together sooner. Is that bad?
YOUNG AND IN LOVE
A. “Sometimes I wish college would go faster so that we could live together and be happy together sooner. Is that bad?”
It’s not bad at all. I mean, it’d be great if you could enjoy college too, but there’s nothing wrong with finding a happy relationship while you’re young. It’s very possible to meet someone in your teens/early 20s and grow together.
My only advice is to continue to engage with the world in front of you. That’s difficult during COVID times, of course (please don’t have parties), but you can try to make friends. It’s a skill you’ll need no matter where you are in life. It was easy to find community at home, when you were surrounded by peers. As you get older, though, you’ll have to learn to find your people, even when it’s less obvious who they are.
Working to make friends will only make your romantic relationship better. It’ll give you and your boyfriend more to talk about, learn, and experience together. You can look for friends, ask people for walks after class, join activities, etc., while still having a great partner.
If you were young, in a relationship, and out of love, this would be a problem. But as it stands, it all sounds pretty great. Just don’t let one relationship be the answer to all of your social needs.
You very clearly express feeling like you have missed out on things. I’m not saying this isn’t a lovely relationship, but I think you know, deep down inside, that you should experience college to its fullest. That you want to wish it away indicates a level of insecurity and at some level, that is what is keeping you with your boyfriend.
Don’t walk away from this relationship for any reason other than you are no longer happy in it. People who say to dump him because you’re too young have no idea how happy and satisfying life is in a relationship of many years when it is with the right person.
^True. I know several couples who started dating in high school and are still happily married many years later. No matter how many books are written, there are no rules or blueprints to life, relationships, and happiness. Just do your thing.
Send your own letter to email@example.com. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.