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Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Dear Sugar
I am 23 and just graduated from college. I have always wanted to move to Los Angles and leave my small hometown in the Midwest and I feel like now the time. The only reason why now is not the perfect time is because of my boyfriend.

We have been dating on and off since high school and have been on again for the past three years. We have talked about our future and we always have said we will be together. However, now that the future is here, I don't know what to do. I love my boyfriend and can't imagine being with anyone else.

He has told me he would move to California with me, but I am not sure I want to begin a new experience as a couple. If we were to move together I would be just one step away from marriage and while I don't want to loose him, I don't want to loose myself either.

I have been with my boyfriend for the past six years and I feel like now is the time to find out more about myself in the real world. If my boyfriend knew I was feeling this way he would be devastated. is better to compromise myself for love, or compromise love for myself? Spread My Wings Winnie

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Spread My Wings Winnie
This is a very important issue that I think many people struggle with. Graduating from college and embarking on your life as an independent woman is a very exciting time. Discovering who you are without the constraints of school is often times very trying but very rewarding at the same time.

Taking a chance before you have commitments to a job, a husband, children, etc... is the best time to explore your interests and soul search. Is your boyfriend aware of your plans to move west? It sounds as though moving to Los Angeles has always been a dream of yours. If you feel your boyfriend will hold you back on gaining everything you wanted out of this experience, perhaps it is best you take this journey alone.

Could you stay together long distance initially until you get your bearings and then have your boyfriend make the move? Will he be understanding of your desire to discover yourself as an independent? Taking care of yourself is very important now and I you should have to compromise this dream for him unless you really think that you would want to marry him.

Reiterate how much you love and care about your boyfriend, but how imperative it is for you to take this next step in life on your own, for the first time. You are very brave to turn down the security of a familiar face and not use your boyfriend as a crutch. Trust yourself and enjoy all that independence has to offer you. If your relationship is meant to be, everything will work out. Good luck to you.

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