These young lovers have the odds really stacked against them, and yet many stay together for the long run. But put yourself in a very young woman’s place…
Dear Dan and Jennifer,
I have been dating this guy since I was 15 and now we are 19. We were absolutely perfect for a year until we separated for a while to see what else was out there. During that time I dated no one and he did stuff here and there that he kept on the low.
It has been 2 1/2 years since our break and because of our separation it is hard for me to trust him. After graduating high school, I thought college was going to be our only issue but in fact college is not an issue at all. He has his own business and I’m just commuting from college.
Our problem is that we are both changing and it has been a struggle. I also was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which also made it hard.
I have matured quickly, not wanting to party much and all he wants to do is drink and party. I feel like he wants more then just me but when I discuss wanting to still be with me he says that he never wants to let me go and doesn’t want to break up. We love each other more then life offers, but we are going through a bumpy road and sometimes I feel distant from him – but he’s the man I want to spend the future with.
I don’t know what to do; how can we get through this? Is it possible that we will make it? Please give me advice?
– Ashlee, New York
What can you do to save your relationship and actually stay together through these turbulent years?
The biggest challenge you face is at that age you’re both changing so fast. We don’t believe that any of us begin to settle in and know who we until our late 20′s.
Young women face special challenges with their young partners, since they tend to mature faster. And at that age, all most guys seem interested in is drinking and partying, and having fun. From the guy’s standpoint, he can easily start feeling held back and trapped. This interaction can be very frustrating and can certainly put a strain on the relationship.
Sure, he’s enjoying his fun. But is that really so bad? Seriously. Consider yourself lucky if he ever matures. But be thankful if he doesn’t. Mature turns into “stuffy” surprisingly fast. BORING! And there’s nothing like boredom to kill the magic in a relationship.
On top of that, there’s the pressure of picking the right college, keeping those grades up so you can graduate, and entering the workforce, whether it’s a job or starting your own business. Wow, nothing stagnant here.
Where does all this change leave you? Will you still be together in a year or two?
It doesn’t matter! Really, it doesn’t. IF you spend all your time worrying about the future, you’ll never enjoy today. Focus on where you are right now, today, and worry less about the future. Today is ALL that is real. Yesterday is just a memory, and tomorrow is a promise, a hope, a dream…
One guarantee… your life and relationship will change. Don’t try to keep things the same, allow room to change and grow.
“Hold on loosely”… You can still hold on to each other and love each other, just not so tightly. Understand that in a period of extreme change, not only are YOU changing, but so is your partner. Respect and embrace that change, and your chances of staying together are much higher.
You’re both young. In time, as you both grow and evolve, you may grow together, or you may grow apart. Either way, it’s OK.
Was your time together wasted if you break up after a couple of years?
Absolutely not! This is where so many people get stuck and keep themselves miserable for years. Fact is, people either grow together or they grow apart. Regardless of where your relationship ends up, the time you spent together is treasured and magical.
After all, you don’t spend your life with a person only to reach that last second before you die. This is a perfect example of how life is truly about the journey, not the destination. Life IS the journey, and you’re very lucky if you have a partner with you, to share the experience, for as much of your journey as possible.
Enjoy and treasure what you have, and appreciate the joy it brings you. Focus on today and how you can still be happy tomorrow, instead of spending your days worrying about what might someday be.
Here’s a dilemma from two young lovers in New York facing the dire prospect of growing apart…