Ask John: "I love my boy friend, but he doesn't want me to go to college."
I’m a high school senior. Last month the college I most want to attend (for its awesome special education program) awarded me a full scholarship. I was so excited. My boyfriend, however, was not. He definitely doesn’t want me to move 300 miles away.
I’ve told him that my going to college doesn’t have to mean the end of our relationship — that if my parents could stay together while my dad spent years serving in the military halfway around the world, then he and I can handle being a five-hour drive away nine months of the year.
The real problem is that he’s sure I’ll leave him for someone I’ll meet in college. At this point, it almost feels like he wants me to stay less because of how much he loves me and more because of how afraid he is that I’ll leave him, if that makes sense.
He doesn’t really talk that much about how much he will miss being with me, or how sad he’ll be if I leave. His main concern seems to be how certain he is that the moment I set foot on campus, I’ll meet and fall in love with another boy so fast I won’t even remember the name of the guy I’ve been giving my heart and soul to for the past two years.
I’ve asked him a million times to move with me. He knows car mechanics and I’m sure could find a good job in town. But he has jobs waiting for him here after graduation, and doesn’t want to give up that security.
I’m torn between my love for my boyfriend, and my desire to attend this college. What do you think I should do?
I think you should drop your boyfriend like a Shih Tzu that just bit you.
I hope your boyfriend is handsome, because he’s got the brains of a coffee table. How could he fail to understand that if he emotionally bullies you into forgoing this opportunity you’ve been given, then one day, while you and he are enjoying a quiet Sunday morning breakfast together, you’re going to suddenly scream, lurch across the table, and stab him in the forehead with a fork?
The guy is forcing you to choose between him and you. What kind of dinkazoid does that? If he truly loved you, then to make your dreams come true he would move heaven and earth–or at least himself to the town where your college is.
Deep down inside, you must know that you’d be better off with a decent back-scratcher.
Sorry. I know I’m sounding harsh. I’m sure your boyfriend is a perfectly nice guy who’s only afraid of losing you. Not afraid enough to do what it would take to keep you, obviously. But I’m sure he wouldn’t kick an old lady off the back a moving truck, or whatever.
Just go. Explain to him that if you don’t, you’ll inevitably end up resenting him for it. If he doesn’t understand that, then . . . try acting it out with finger puppets, or something. I don’t know.
But I do know that what they say is true: If you love someone, set them free to go to college, lest they one day snap and stab you in the forehead with a fork.
From "Ask John," the advice column I wrote for the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper (part of the USA Today Network) from October 2016 through January 2020.