I’m starting college. Do we have to break up?

Annoyed with your partner? Having trouble on apps? Dealing with a crush? A breakup? What's on your mind? Send a letter to [email protected] or fill out this form.

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Hello Meredith,

I met this guy and have fallen completely head-over-heels for him. The feeling is something out of a Nicholas Sparks film – entirely magical. Unfortunately, I leave for my first year of college in under 30 days, and he is starting his first career job in the fall. I wish to experience all the wonders college life will bring, but I also question if any man will make me feel the way he does. As I shuffle through the options in my head, I turn up completely empty. How do I keep this man in my life without both limiting each other as we experience important life events?

– Hopelessly Helpless


You do not want to compare yourself to a Nicholas Sparks character. So many terrible things happen to those people. (For those who don't know, he wrote "The Notebook" – and many other stories designed to make people cry.)

Instead, if you want to compare your life to something you've seen in media, think of TV shows where the main characters go to college. Often, they don't break up with their significant others the second they leave. Nor do they pledge forever. Instead, they get to a new place (a.k.a. start a new season) and grow. They figure it out day by day, episode by episode.

Maybe you'll see this man less, but the quality time will be better. Or perhaps it'll become clear you're on different paths. You won't understand this new phase of life until you're in it.

If you need to address it in some way before you start classes, tell this man you'd like to check in over time to see how it's going. Acknowledge that there might be new routines – and big change. Ask him if he has concerns.

You might decide after a week of college that you need to be single. If that happens, that's OK because you are the most important person in your life right now, and as far as love goes, there are a lot of people out there. You just started this journey. So much is going to happen! Get used to unknowns, and make peace with the answers coming later.

– Meredith

Readers? Break up now? Figure it out as it happens? Any ideas about how to make this work?