Dear Wendy: “Should I Leave My Boyfriend Behind?”
I am a 21-year-old college student, graduating this spring. I was recently accepted to an Ivy League institution to pursue my graduate degree, and I have never been more excited! However, I have a boyfriend of over six years, who really wants to follow me to graduate school. At first, this seemed like a great idea. I am very happy that he supports me and we have a very strong relationship. However, he does not have a lot of ambition. While I will be going for a graduate degree, he failed out of college and has not really shown any interest in going back. He is currently a cook, and would be able to get a job pretty easily if we move. He has also talked about other labor jobs or bartending. Another concern is that he has never lived anywhere but with his parents. I have been on my own for four years. I am worried that he’ll find it difficult to live away from home. On the other hand, I think it would be a great opportunity for him to move to a city where there are many more opportunities for him. Considering all of this, I am also concerned about myself. I want to be able to take advantage of this opportunity to attend an Ivy League institution to the fullest. I do love him, and I don’t want to lose him, but I am really unsure if he should come along with me, or if I should essentially leave him behind. I don’t want to have any regrets. What do you think I should do? — Off to an Ivy
Tell him you need a year to transition into the demands of a graduate program at an Ivy League school before he moves out there with you. It’s a fair request, and if your relationship can’t handle a year apart, you aren’t right for each other anyway. A year will give you enough time to evaluate whether this is really the guy you want to be with, while also giving you a chance to make a life for yourself in your new home and focus on your studies. Don’t underestimate how much of a commitment school will be. You’re going to need at least a year to really devote yourself to your new challenges without worrying about how your boyfriend is doing in his new home too. If he isn’t okay with that arrangement, he clearly doesn’t support you as much as you say he does, and it’s better to know that now. Besides, your boyfriend of six years who doesn’t have much ambition might not seem as fulfilling to you once you spend a year in the company of fellow Ivy grad students of the male persuasion. I’m sure your boyfriend is aware of this, which is probably another reason he wants to tag along. You owe it to yourself to take a year to focus on creating a new life. You’ll know by the end of that year whether there’s a place for him in it or whether it’s time to MOA.
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