Q. I am almost 22 and I’ve been in a relationship with “Ryan” for just about a year. We’re crazy about each other. We met at college, and when we’re together at school, we hang out all the time.
My issue is that when we spend significant time apart, I begin to question the relationship. In the summer, I live in Boston and he lives in Maryland. When I come home for those three months, I go to parties with my home friends, and I find myself wanting to be single again. But as soon as Ryan and I get back together, I’m head over heels for him. We’ve talked about marriage and a life together and I honestly could see myself marrying him.
I’m nervous because he graduated in May and now has a big-boy job and has moved about 45 minutes away from school. Am I going to want to be single during my senior year? Sometimes I think that I didn’t spend enough time as a single girl in college enjoying myself, but then I think, I have friends who have been dating their significant others for five-plus years, and my parents have been happily married since they were 19. I’m just wondering if these feelings are normal.
A. You’re fine. This is all pretty normal. Most couples have a tough time with months of distance. Most people second-guess their relationships when they spend three months living like a single person with their 21-year-old peers.
If you really want to stay with this guy, you need to cut it out with the “we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together” stuff. Maybe you will, but there’s no need to make that proclamation right now. You guys are very young, and you’ve only been together for a year. If you stop making these big promises, you’ll have a better shot of surviving this transition.
And really, he shouldn’t be making these promises either. I mean, he has no idea what big-boy world will be like for him.
It’s possible that by November you’ll be desperate to be single, but it’s also possible that you’ll have a great year with your grown-up boyfriend. The less pressure you put on yourself, the more you’ll know what you really want. Instead of “This is forever,” say, “We’re really happy now — and we want to keep going.” That’s the best you can do.
I think it’s a red flag that as soon as you’re home in Boston you are wishing you were single.
The “I wish I was single” thing is completely normal. And if you were single, you would “wish I was in a relationship.”
A 20-something with a job? He’s a keeper!
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.