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Relationship Health Message Board

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My personal advice....don't do it. I know that now she is the only person you can ever imagine yourself being with, and maybe that's the case, but why rush things? I think if you propose now, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. You are hoping that it will help solidify your long-distance relationship and assure that she will not find someone else. You are hoping that it will mean things won't change.

They will. However much you may HATE to think about how your life or your personality will be different, college will change you. You will grow in a fantastic way that defines you as a person. You will make amazing friends and share unbelievable experiences. College is a totally different, totally surreal world where you find yourself and who you want to be. Don't be scared of it because it will happen naturally and enjoyably, but realize that it will happen in more ways then you know.

Some relationships like yours last wonderfully. Speaking from experience, many don't. I dated a guy for 2.5 years, starting during my senior year of college. I loved this guy in the same way you described. We thought it was forever...we talked a lot about marriage, having kids, and what our future would be like. We were extremely close, and had a relationship that surpassed all our friends in understanding, trust, and friendship.

When I went off to school, things at first were fine. I depended on him a LOT going through this change, and he was there for me whenever I needed him. As time went on, though, I made friends at school. I fell in love with my school, joined a ton of activities, took a lot of classes, and found it hard to make time for my boyfriend. When he went off to school, he had a negative experience and started pressuring me for all my free time. Pretty soon going out with him was a chore, not a relationship.

The thing is, I didn't want to break up with him because I thought he was "the one." We had talked about getting married so many times that I couldn't believe I was considering not being with him anymore. I let things drag on forever, totally frustrated with the situation, wanting to date guys at college and have time for my friends. Finally, I broke up with him and it was like a huge load was lifted from me. I fell for a fantastic guy at my school and we've been together for four years. Our relationship is totally different from my last one....we don't gaze into each other's eyes. We don't talk about how much we love each other and how lucky we are. Sure, we say it every now and then during those special moments....but it is a relationship that is mature, and real, and based on true understanding and the ability to live together. I wasn't able to see how my high school boyfriend and I were totally incompatable until I grew up.

I'm not saying you are too young to make this dad married my mom at 19. However, I'm 24 and there are times when I STILL don't feel ready to be engaged. I think if you make this commitment now you will feel great and secure for awhile, but eventually may find it stifling and impractical, seeing as your time with her will be so limited. Give yourself a change to enjoy college as a "free man." You don't have to break up, but at least wait on the engagement until you see what's out there and have a chance to find yourself.

If someone had told me these things at your age, I would've shaken my head and said "but they don't understand what we have going in this relationship!" Trust me, I do. But being in love and being able to make a marriage work are two totally different things, and that is a decision that is incredibly tough to make upon entering college. I am telling you this to prevent you a lot of frustration and pain in the future. If it's meant to be, you will still be together in a few years and can propose then. You don't even have to wait until you graduate....give it two years and see how you feel. If she's still "the one," she'll still be there for you, engaged or not.

I know this is long-winded and preachy, but I think this is an incredibly important decision you are about to make. I think you will regret getting engaged now. I wish you the best, and hope you enjoy your wonderful college years!

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