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

100% this. The boy is being honest. I read OP’s posts as the boy really cares for her but doesn’t want to be the one to break up and be the “bad guy.” This to me says he is not as committed as OP wants him to be. If the boyfriend loved her as much as she loved him and wanted a long term relationship as much as she does, he wouldn’t be trying to have the conversation about how he wants to date other people. He does not want to be dating her in college. I understand that young love is making OP view his words in other ways but the boy has been honest. He wants to date other people. Period. He wants to experience other relationships. Period. So unless OP is into poly or open relationships, this is not going to work for OP.

He may be a good person and maybe even a good boyfriend. But I could not in good conscience tell my own daughter to stay with a guy who obviously did not want to stay with her. I would encourage my daughter to be in a relationship where she is the only choice. I would not want my daughter to feel like she had to compete to maintain the “top spot” in his heart. I would not encourage my daughter to wait around for a boy who is admitting that he will only come back to her if he basically hasn’t found something better.

Set him free now amicably. Keep in touch a bit in college. See where life takes you both.

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I have a few reactions to this.

First of all this is tough. Relationships are tough. For a young person with little experience knowing what is right for them is tough.

My second reaction is that the “college social experience” is overrated. You are both likely to find relatively quickly that your casual dates and parties on campus are not really all that interesting.

My third reaction is that it is good that he is being honest about this and that the two of you are talking about it.

Also, if you are meant to get back together, then I think that you will get back together.

One likely outcome is that you will discover that you want to go in different directions. Another possible outcome is that you will discover that you really are meant to be together.

However, you are both young and have limited experience in the world. You are both likely to grow and change once you get to see a bit more of the world. Whether you will both change in the same direction is something that probably no one can know right now. Other people’s experiences suggest that growing in different direction is more likely, but not inevitable.

Which gets back to the first point: This is tough.

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Maybe it is because I attended a fairly rural, somewhat isolated LAC, but the dating relationships developed during the freshman year of college seemed to last for years.

Not sure if still true, but Middlebury College has long had a reputation for its undergraduates marrying one another.

Mine too, although not a LAC but a mid-size public in the “snow cannon zone” of upstate NY, where winter starts in October and lasts until spring finals. We had to keep warm somehow :joy:

Seriously though, we 1985-1989 alumni talk all the time about how many marriages came out of our four years and how 98% of them are going on 30+ years! Apparently, blizzard conditions and alcohol are solid foundations for LONG marriages!

OP - my daughter and her bf decided to have a “conscious uncoupling” before heading to their respective colleges next week. They care about each other enough to settle for being friends while allowing each other space to breathe. It wasn’t easy, there were lots of conversations and tears, but they’ve ended things in a good place. I said the same thing to her - if it’s meant to be, it will be. In the meantime if they happen to date other people, I think that will also be good for both of them.

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There’s no such thing as a “break” in dating. You’re either dating or you break up. Do you and your boyfriend plan to tell the people you date in college that you’re going to get back together in a few months? It’s not really fair to those students to present yourselves as free if you have any sort of understanding with each other.

But you don’t really have an understanding. What I’m hearing is that you think you’re what some young people refer to as “pre-engaged” and are both interested in “sharing a life together.” But that’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying that he wants to be free to date (and have sex with) other women. You gain nothing by agreeing to wait for him while he dates other people. As soon as you break up he has zero obligations to you. If he decides to make one of them his girlfriend then it doesn’t matter what he’s saying to you now. You’ll be a friend from home and that’s all.

Could I have some advice on how to deal with this? I’m willing to do anything to make something work for us.

Please rid yourself of the mindset that you’re “willing to do anything” to keep a man. You deserve better. He’s telling you he wants to date other people and thinks you should wait around for him in case he changes his mind. Why should you give him a commitment when he’s not committed to you? If I were you I’d break up with him and make it a full, permanent break. You don’t need the anguish of waiting for him while he shops around to see if he can do better. It’s an insult that he even asked you to consider it. He wants all of the benefits (dating, sex with other women, having new girlfriends) with none of the risk. You’re the only one taking any risks. You want to be together and aren’t interested in dating other people, so you get nothing out of this arrangement. I would give nothing in return. If a man isn’t 100% committed to you then he doesn’t deserve to be in a relationship with you.

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This is agonizingly tough for young high school couples. The truth is that even though you’re in love with each other, college is all about making tons of new friends, and often a new love. He’s not telling you that he wants to sleep around at school. He’s trying to tell you that he wants to be open to the possibility of finding a new relationship at college. You should hear what he’s saying, and accept it. Let him go, and be open to the possibility of a new relationship at college for you, too. It might be different if you were both 100% committed to an exclusive long-distance relationship while in college, but that’s not what he’s telling you. As someone said, if it’s meant to be, you’ll get back together down the road at some point, perhaps after college. You have to accept what he’s saying, and let go. Very soon you’ll have the excitement of meeting a ton of new people at college. That will help to ease the pain of separation from him.

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Relationships are not always black and white. Sometimes you can continue a relationship even if seeing other people. But it doesn’t seem that this is something you can tolerate.

We shall see…

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I have two daughters. They both had boyfriends.

Daughter 1 fit this common pattern:

This is what often happens with HS Boyfriends/Girlfriends:

You swear YOU TWO ARE DIFFERENT! You can make it work!

At first you facetime every day!

But then you realize that is annoying to your roommate/you have no privacy so you try to find times to facetime when your roommate isn’t there.

But you have classes and he has classes and you joined that club and he is on the intramural soccer team so maybe we can talk on Tuesdays.

He has that co-ed group of friends he goes out on weekends with and you have your group from the dorm.

Oh, here comes Fall break…but his is at a different weekend than yours so you can’t get together…

There is that one person in the group that you/he kind of likes…but you have girl/boyfriend!

Why isn’t he talking to you as often? or Why are you looking at excuses not to talk to him?

So you look forward to thanksgiving…but by then you are kind of really into that other guy/he is really into that other girl and you kind of get together over break and ooohhhhh noooo you have a fight about not talking as much anymore and you break up.

It’s called the Turkey Drop.
Exactly what happened to my eldest.

Youngest Daughter: Her boyfriend was the one going off to college. We talked about her sister’s experience. Said the best thing to do was to break up amicably and let him go off and have that college experience as he would be across the country.

When youngest daughter went off to college, she kept seeing her next boyfriend throughout freshman year. At first he would visit her on the weekends, and then that got complicated with staying over in dorms so she would go visit him on weekends. At the end of the year he broke up with her…she was so mad…not at the break up, because she wasted her freshman year on him. I would say she should stay at school to do stuff with friends…she would say she doesn’t have friend because she is never there.

THAT BEING SAID:

  1. it is good you picked your colleges for yourself and not on each other

  2. You don’t have to make a permanent decision now…you can try something and then change if it doesn’t work

  3. Either of you can break up at any time anyway

  4. You may feel the same way that you want to date others

  5. You can still be friends

  6. Holding on too tight won’t keep him with you

  7. Talk to him about what casual dating means…does it mean if he meets someone organically on campus and is interested he dates? or is he downloading tinder and actively trying to hook up?

  8. If you do remain friends and chat…do you/he want to know what the other is doing in the dating atmosphere

  9. I met my spouse freshman year during orientation and we started dating thereafter. Around halloween he was acting weird…it was because his HS girlfriend was coming for a visit.
    Whatever you do, have a clear, mutual decision on the status of your relationship. If he says he wants to be able to date others, then you have to accept that.

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Great post @bopper !

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“it’s just at the moment i’m not sure how comfortable i am with that idea.”
As a mom, what I would want my child to learn at this stage is don’t discount your own feelings. This a time for learning and growth, and I hope you decide to choose YOU and learn that in a relationship your feelings, concerns and worries are just as important as your partner’s. It’s a slippery slope many young adults fall onto at this stage, feeling like they need to agree to being uncomfortable with a situation out of fear of losing a relationship. You don’t; maybe you wind up together one day, maybe not, but don’t decide out of fear. Don’t start discounting your own concerns and feelings at the beginning of your relationship journey in life. Best wishes and good luck at your first year of college.

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There are two people in a monogamous relationship, if there are more then you are not a couple. There is more to college experience which you can enjoy without dating and hook up.

If you two want to date other people than break up and remain friends, if it’s meant to be then you’ll come back to each other.

If both of you value your relationship then be mature and flexible to make long distance work. It doesn’t have to effect your studies and fun.

@gummyvites how is it going?

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