Is casual dating/the college experience worth potentially losing a serious and very loving relationship?

No offense taken. Just trying to be realistic & honest with the OP. Nevertheless, your advice is the same as mine except that you sugarcoated it.


I think it can work if you and your boyfriend are committed but everyone’s relationship is unique. His concerns about missing out could be a bit of a red flag. Especially if his FOMO is centered on dating/hook ups. I also agree that if you’re going to be at different schools and you don’t feel you can trust him to be faithful then at a minimum taking a break might be the best path for your own mental health. I’m also a believer that if it’s meant to be it will be. Dating other people could break you up permanently but it could also show him how special your relationship is and that it’s not easily replicated.

That being said I know many people who successfully dated while attending different schools. A sample few are:

One of my nephews and his gf started on HS and dated through college. She’s now in med school and he’s working and they’re still together.

My S and his GF began dating in HS. They attended different colleges and continued their relationship long distance. Last year was the most challenging because their schools didn’t allow any outside visitors. He just graduated and she has one more year. They are still together. He had tight group of friends and participated in many clubs at school. He’s not a big fraternity guy/parties so perhaps that made it easier?

One of my BILs dated his now wife starting in HS, through college and medical school.

Finding someone you connect with isn’t easy (as evidenced by the plethora of dating apps) so I think it’s worth it for both of you to consider how important your relationship is to each of you. Also consider how you tend to do as a “single”. Some people don’t do well without a romantic partner. Some people do fine with the support of their circle of friends, so keeping a long distance relationship isn’t as challenging.

Wishing you luck as you start your college journey!


this post made me feel a lot better. His FOMO isn’t around dating and hookups, and he isnt into the party scene either. while I acknowledge it will be difficult, and could potentially end (which in that case he can start acting on his curiosity), I think I have come to terms with what will happen will happen. Thank you for your support, advice, and comfort.


I want you to listen to the song, “I Hope You Dance”, by LeeAnn Womack. You can find it on youtube.


thank you to you both. I’m hoping we can have the excitement of broadening horizons while also being in a committed relationship. @Publisher thanks for voicing your concerns- I appreciate everyone’s input.


@gummyvites In all honesty, anybody’s first love is special, as is anybody’s first serious relationship.

What you had was a teenage, high school relationship. It was special, it was great, but high school is ending, and with it this entire chapter of your life.

You want to continue this relationship into the next chapter of your life.

However, long-distance relationships rarely work, especially at your age, and when both are transitioning from high school to college. They definitely are unlikely to work when the two people are in different places as to what the future will look like.

While you both talk about how you want to share a future, neither of you really has any idea what your life will look like when you decide to move in together and share it sometime in the far future. All you have is a vague “we’ll live together and be happy” dream. That is OK, since neither of you really have any idea what living together as grownups actually entails (hint: pretty far from a teenage romance)

Unfortunately, it seems that the two of you have different ideas as to what the coming four years will look like. You want to live one way - having most of your emotional life being tied up with somebody who lives far away. On the other hand, he really wants to live in a different way - he would like to focus on his life at college, and wants to have emotional life there and then.

Your boyfriend is not going to be casually dating anybody. A boy who has had a single stead girlfriend since sophomore year is not really into casual dating. He is probably already transitioning, mentally and emotionally, to being a college student, and is wondering what a different relationship would be like.

I’ll tell you something which is both very sad and very optimistic:

For every person, their are multiple other people with whom they can form a serious and very loving relationship. It is sad, because it means that if you break up with your boyfriend, he will almost certainly find somebody else with whom to have a relationship which is every bit as loving, as serious, and as special as the one he has with you.

The optimistic part: so will you. There are a large number of other people out there with whom you can have a very loving, serious, and special relationship. If you break up with your boyfriend, you will find somebody else with which you will have a loving special, and serious relationship. I promise.

You don’t want to let go of something which was very special for you for most of your high school years, but high school is over. It’s time to see new things.

The most important part of the next four years for you should be your education, not your boyfriend.

Here is another secret: it will be easier to replace a boyfriend, no matter how much you love him, than to do your college years over.

Final secret: if you break up amicably, you can always start over.

By the way, nothing that you are feeling, and nothing that you are doing, is wrong. Everything is absolutely OK for two kids your age. No reason to feel badly or to think that you did anything stupid or wrong, or immature. You are as mature as you should be for your age. You are simply going through what many others your age have gone through.

Take care.


I would never promise to wait around for someone while they dated other people. Relationships are like trains. You’re either on the train or you’re off. There’s no in-between. He’s either 100% committed to a relationship with you or he’s not, and what he’s telling you is that he isn’t. Breaking up with someone is risky. You have to assume it’s permanent. He’s asking you for permission to relegate you to a particular nasty form of purgatory. He expects you to hang around and wait for him while he sees other women so he can decide if you’re the best he can do. I’ve watched these long, drawn out break ups happen and it’s not pretty. I think it happens because they want to date other people but they’re afraid to completely give up the current relationship until they’re sure they’ve secured another. It’s so unfair to the one left behind.

If I was in your position I’d break up with him completely. I’d be willing to be casual friends, but that’s all. Be happy for the experiences you’ve shared, but don’t make the mistake of making promises to someone who won’t give you a commitment.


You have received a lot of very heartfelt, solid advice on this thread. It’s time to look forward to your new lives and let the future unfold as it will, without strings and ties that can trip and fetter both of you.

Good luck! You will both grow so much in college and become the wonderful adults you are meant to be!


he’s only comfortable with seeing what it’s like to be single if i will be doing the same. it’s just at the moment i’m not sure how comfortable i am with that idea. maybe once i get to campus, i’ll change my mind, but it has to be a mutual waiting for each other, or else like you said, it’s not fair.

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I went off to college in a committed, long distance relationship, with no intention of looking for someone else. I met my now husband during orientation week. After two months of being friends I knew I had to breakup with my boyfriend. Started dating now husband three months after the breakup. Married almost 28 years now.

Close friend went off to college in a long distance, committed relationship, where they only saw each other at school breaks. She and her boyfriend made it work. Have been married 30+ years.

No one has a crystal ball. My $0.02 is to keep communicating honestly and make the most of your time at college - study hard, make friends, join clubs. Get ready for your career or grad school. That’s where the focus should be.


You have the right idea when you write " I think I have come to terms with what will happen will happen. " Efforts to predict and control are natural but I am glad you can let go a little. You have big transitions ahead and it will work out the way it works out. Good luck!

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@MWolf: Great post !

Hallmark card moment: “Secret: It will be easier to replace a boyfriend, no matter how much you love him, than to do your college years over.”

There is at lot of wisdom & understanding in the above statement than may be apparent to you now. Be realistic about your current situation; romanticizing your current situation could affect your college years and create emotional scars that might handicap you for decades. The time to deal with the reality is now. Take the pain and go through the emotions now so that you may enjoy your college years in a healthy fashion.

Another Hallmark moment by @austinmshauri:

“Relationships are like trains; you’re either on the train or you’re off.”

All of which leads us back to the original Hallmark moment in this thread which contains more truth than you can appreciate at your young age:

There is nothing magical about love; it’s just timing.

P.S. FWIW: Love is really mostly about trust & respect than it is about passion or passionate emotions.


I haven’t read any of the responses but… met my girlfriend at 16th (I was 18) dated 8 years and got married. Lived at some point in different states for 4 years. I came up on the weekends a lot 3 hours away. Married today 34 years.

But at some point we did break up with this same concern. Even now which seems weird I think we would of been better served dating others more for a bit. It’s nice you can have an open discussion on this. If either one of you feels you need to date others then let them do it honestly and openly. It’s better then behind your back. You can still be friends. I was the more Jelious one of the two but sometimes you need to let go to see how strong your bond really is. It’s hard now since your so young and met so young but if it’s meant to be then it will. Good Luck.

this is so true. We got back together when I was coming home and my car ran out of gas a few blocks away from her college house. Of course I had little money on me so I called and we talked and got back together right there and then… lol… But to the OP… have some money in your pocket… lol… I wasn’t the most responsible back then… lol

He is telling you what he wants and you need to listen to him. He wants to casually date and he “only” wants to do it if you will be doing it as well. The translation for that is that he wants to potentially hook up with others and not feel guilty. He thinks that if you are also hooking up then he won’t feel bad about what he is doing.

You have a couple choices. Make a clean break now and you can both do what you want at college. That doesn’t mean that you have to do anything with other boys, it just means you can throw yourself into college life and see what happens.

Or, you can try to hold on. It sounds like he will eventually cheat on you and most likely you will be part of the Thanksgiving thaw”. That is when kids come home freshman year and they realize that can’t maintain a long distance relationship. One,or both of them, has changed enough for the other person to realize it’s no longer working.

If you were both fully committed, it might work to stay together but it honestly doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is. He is telling you something, you need to listen to him.

Just curious, how far apart are your colleges? I do have a couple friends who made this work but there was a lot of heartache involved along the way and their colleges were always within driving distance of each other. I also have 2 good friends who went to the same college as their BF’s. They were “soulmates”. Neither lasted past first semester.


I have known some folks who were sweethearts from HS who managed separations and many, including me who have not. There is no one right or wrong way and it’s good you and your BF are thinking about this with open minds and good conversation.

Good luck in making choices that work for both of you and help both of you grow.


The issue in OP’s situation is that the boyfriend wants an “open relationship” while the girlfriend does not.

What happens on a lonely weekend night when she calls and he is unavailable due to being on a date ? And continues to call throughout the night & early morning with no answer ?

OP, the girlfriend, views the relationship as “a serious and very loving” one and writes that “we love each other very deeply, and we both share an interest in sharing a life together” while the boyfriend seems to be thinking about freedom from the relationship and has an interest in dating others.

I know of high school couples who have married after attending different colleges and different grad schools. Many were best friends rather than involved in an intense & passionate high school relationship. Those with more intense relationships experienced cheating.

This is an issue of “Can I find someone better while maintaining my security blanket ?”. In my view, the boyfriend is not really offering much of an option. It comes down to either agree with me & let me try others, or don’t agree with me & I’ll cheat on you while you remain faithful, or break-up with me. The boyfriend wants to experience guilt-free romance & sex, but isn’t man enough to do the breaking up. Unfortunately, OP may be setting herself up for serious heartbreak.


My S and his GF have decided to break up before going to college and if things are meant to be they will meet later in life. They don’t want to hold each other back in college or end up with a bad break up.

My advice is to break up now and focus on enjoying college. I agree with Publisher that your boyfriend just doesn’t know how to breakup with you, so he is basically telling you in other words.


Yeah, I would say if folks are going to date others, basically, they’re breaking up. They can still care about each other but not be the “only” for the other.


This is what my D19 and her BF did when they headed off to different colleges a long distance apart. They spend massive amounts of time together when they’re both home on breaks, but as really good friends, not as romantic partners.