Dear Wendy: “Am I Too Young To Live With My Boyfriend?”
I’m 20 years old and am a college sophomore in New York. I met my boyfriend, a fellow classmate, during orientation and we’ve been together for a year and four months and things are going really great. The time to pick housing for next year is coming up soon and I’m having trouble deciding things. I go to Columbia, where the administration had just implemented a “gender neutral” housing policy starting next year, as you guys wrote about in one of your previous posts, and I’m trying to decide if I want to live with my boyfriend next year. If we do decide to be roommates, we could get a really nice double with our own kitchen and bathroom, which would put an end to the communal kitchen/bathroom ordeal I’ve had to deal with for the last two years. It’ll be like having our own apartment in New York. But I know that being roommates can bring a lot of other things into the relationship that we never had to deal with before, and I don’t know if we’re ready for that. Also, I’m not sure if I will ever get any work done if I’m living with my boyfriend. But then again, I feel like it would be the perfect arrangement for us, and I’m not really concerned about us breaking up and having to deal with the awkwardness that would ensue. What do you think? — Undecided Roommate
Two things in your letter stick out to me. One: why are you not concerned about the possibility of breaking up and having to deal with the awkwardness that would ensue? Are you so confident in your relationship, despite your admittance that living together would introduce a lot of new issues, that you don’t imagine you’ll break up? Or, do you feel sure that if you did break up it wouldn’t be awkward to continue living and studying together in such a small space? Obviously, the fact that you’re writing to me suggests you aren’t that confident. You go to an Ivy League school; I imagine you have a demanding course load, especially as you enter your third year. Is the potential stress of living with your boyfriend worth the risk to your studies and emotional well-being just for a bit of convenience?
That brings me to the second thing I noticed in your letter: There was no mention of actually wanting to live with you boyfriend for the sake of living with your boyfriend. Sure, you mention the convenience factor — you could get a “really nice double with your own kitchen and bathroom,” but trust me, that’s not a good enough reason to move in with someone. As nice as it may sound to share a kitchen and bathroom with your boyfriend instead of with a bunch of other girls, that can’t be your best reason for living together or you’re in trouble. Moving in with someone is like putting your relationship on a fast track, and depending on outside factors — including age and student status — the direction of that track may not be the one you’d hope to follow.
I’d think long and hard about sharing a room with your boyfriend before committing to it. This is the time to be really honest about how you’d deal with a breakup if you lived together or how you’d continue focusing on your demanding school work with such a cute roommate around all the time. If you do decide to go ahead with it, it wouldn’t hurt to draw up a “contract” addressing these issues. It could be as simple as a piece of paper you both sign that says something like: “If we break up, I promise not to bring dates back to our room,” and “I promise not to prance around in my underwear when you need to study.” It may sound silly, but it will force you to think about some of the possible consequences of moving in together, and if you can’t agree on what to promise each other, that’s probably a good indication you aren’t ready to take such a big step in your relationship. At 20 years old, this definitely isn’t you last chance to live with your man. Not by a long shot.
I am a 21-year-old college student who is sort of in her first relationship. Originally, the guy was just a one-night-stand but he added me on Facebook, asked for my number, called and we went out on a few dates. I assumed that it was all about sex (we did have sex six times in one night!) and after a few dates I convinced him to spend the night over. We have been ‘together’ for almost a month now. We are both monogamous and we have sex about 10 times a week. Couple of nights ago, I told him that I was unsure about my motives of this relationship: was it just the sex or was it something more? He was offended when I shared my feelings with him and he assured me that as much as he liked sex he also ‘dug’ me. How do I figure out what my motives are? Should we abstain from sex for a period of time or do I just let this fizzle out? Help! — Oversexed
OK, OK, we get it! You’re getting lots of sex! Six times in one night? Ten times a week? Oh, to be 21 again! Other than making us all jealous with how frisky you’re getting, I guess I’m not sure why you’ve written. Are you liking the sex but not so sure you’re into the guy? Are you doing nothing but having sex, so you feel like you don’t know the guy very well? Are you worried the guy is just “using” you despite him saying he “digs” you as a person? Since I’m not exactly sure what your question is, I’ll say this: If you’re having fun and feeling good about yourself, keep doing what you’re doing. There’s no reason to let things “fizzle out” unless you’re just not into it. And if you’re not into it, stop sleeping with this guy immediately and have enough respect for him to let him know you’re done. Doing the “fizzle out” is for people who lack integrity. But if you’re simply worried that you’re letting your hormones get in the way of knowing this guy better, maybe you should cut back to, I don’t know, seven times a week and use your extra time together to talk.
*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.