Dear Wendy: “Do I Need To Go Wild And Crazy Before Settling Down?”

It’s time again for “Shortcuts.” For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss whether or not one needs to be wild and crazy before settling down, dealing with a boyfriend’s bad communication style, and what to do when a fiancé ups and moves with no notice.

I am 17, and my boyfriend and I have been together almost two years. We are in love and have been through a lot of issues together, usually because of me. This past summer he moved to another nearby state for college. I am planning to move there this year after I graduate. I have had some tempting thoughts about a new coworker who is my age and a virgin. My boyfriend and I discussed it and he is so worried that I will cheat that he said he’s okay with it because I haven’t been through ‘that crazy, wild stage’ yet. He has been with a dozen other girls before me but he is my first. Is it necessary that I ‘go through that stage’ in order for us to grow? Or can we live happily ever after without me feeling like I missed out? I am curious to know what sex is like with another person and this is driving me insane. Please help. — Young Love

Sure, it’s possible to remain happily satisfied in a relationship without having experienced a “crazy, wild stage” first. That doesn’t mean that YOU will remain happily satisfied in YOUR relationship though. If you, at 17, feel like you aren’t ready to fully commit to one person, which is totally understandable and normal, you should probably do the kind and fair thing and either end your relationship with your boyfriend or agree that you BOTH can see other people.

My boyfriend and I have been together for four and a half years. I love him very much and one day we hope to get married. We have discussed this frequently and are very committed to each other. The problem is he doesn’t have a healthy relationship with his parents — they treat him like a kid (even though he is 26) and they generally leave him out in the dark about why they got divorced. He frequently tells me how badly he was affected by his parents’ divorce and how they basically shut him down when he tries to discuss his feelings. The thing is that a lot of his parents’ behavior now seems to have been passed on to him. He has awful conflict coping skills; he stonewalls me ALL the time when things get really heated (this has been really hard on me) — as soon as he sees any conflict he bolts, literally, and just ignores things and does not address them. I can see how much of this has been because of the way his parents have treated him and that he models this behavior after them but I am seriously concerned about how things might play out when we eventually do get married. What should I do? — Stonewalled Girlfriend

Tell your boyfriend that if he is serious about pursuing a future with you, he has to address his issues with a professional so you can start your life together with honesty and open communication. This is no longer about his parents; it’s about him and whether he’s going to continue letting a divorce between two other people affect the kind of marriage he may have one day. If he’s as affected by his parents as it sounds, only professional counseling is going to break the cycle.

I’m 23 years old and have been BFF with Kelli since we were 15. In high school, Kelli moved and has lived out of state from me for about six years now. This has been really hard for both of us, but we have kept in contact pretty well over the years. For the past two years, however, our relationship is getting more and more strained. For years, she and I had the same goal, even though we lived far from one another. That goal was get a degree, study abroad and focus on our careers. Well, that changed three years ago when she got married then had two kids. It feels like it happened so fast. Now, I am in a serious relationship and she and I have lost a lot of communication. When we do talk, it seems all [she] has to say is “advice” on why I’m not engaged yet and that my boyfriend does not want to settle down with me. She even quotes “Dear Abby” in that if my boyfriend doesn’t give me a ring within the first two years together, then we should break up. She is the ONLY person in my life criticizing my relationship with my boyfriend. Her criticizing me on top on the fact that we rarely talk anymore makes me feel like she does not care. I told her to back off with her POV and to trust my decisions, but she doesn’t stop. I’m seriously thinking of just cutting her out of my life if she doesn’t her criticizing me all the time. What should I do? — BFF Annoyance

Kelli probably feels insecure in her own decisions or like your life is a reminder of the path she didn’t take and she’s probably a little resentful her options seem limited now. Don’t get sucked into her negative vortex. Remind her one more time that while you respect the decisions she’s made and hope she’s happy with her life, you’ve chosen a different path that you are more than happy with and if she can’t accept that and stop criticizing you, there probably isn’t enough mutual respect to continue this friendship.

I am a 26-year-old woman engaged to a great man, recently he lost his grandfather and went to Texas for the funeral. I was glad he went but the day he came back he told me he was going back to Texas for a job, we had talked about moving out there so he could be closer to his family. He said that when he got a place that he would come get me but because of problems that I have had in my past I am afraid that he just doesn’t want to be with me anymore. He told me he loves me and he wasn’t going to break up with me and maybe I am just afraid that because I have been hurt in the past that he will hurt me by cheating or breaking up with me. He has never cheated on me in the 3 years we have been together and he said he wasn’t going to break up with me and he wants to marry me. Should I be worried and let what has happened in my past effect this relationship or should I just keep faith in him like I have all these years? We have barely spent time apart from each other and this year he isn’t even home for Christmas. Any advice would be great thank you. — Scared in Alabama

If a man you’re engaged to moves to another state for a job without so much as talking it over with you, I’d take that as a big sign this isn’t a man who values you enough to make him your life partner. MOA.

Follow me on Twitter and get relationship tips and updates on new Dear Wendy columns!

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”}.