Relationship Advice

Up In The Air

young woman writing in journal

I am a 21-year-old college senior looking forward to graduation in four months, pursuing a career and possibly my first love. So here's the question…

I've been in love with my first boyfriend, with whom I shared my first time, since I was 15. I knew I cared about him then, but I thought it was puppy love. Although the relationship didn't last long, we dated again sophomore year of college and began "hooking up" again five months ago.

We both dated other people in the interim. I'm beginning to realize I am really in love and thinking about a future with him. The problem is we go to school four hours away from each other. I'm 21, he's 23. We also feel we deserve to "have fun" our last semester at college. The big problem is neither of us knows where we'll end up after graduation.

Plus, I'm not sure he knows how very much in love with him I am. I'm scared he'll find somebody else if I don't tell him. But I'm also not sure how he'll take it if I do. He doesn't show his emotions much.

Am I insane in thinking everything will work out if I tell him? We've talked about it, and he's never felt so "comfortable" with anyone before, but I'm not sure how he feels about a future with me.

I think he feels the same or we wouldn't keep going back to each other. Either way, I don't want to scare him away by confessing my love and my hopes for a future, but I need to tell him how I feel!


Kira, when we read your letter, we wondered what it was really about. Is it about nothing ventured nothing gained? Is it about the power of first love? Or is it about something else?

Though we often tell people to be brave (ask the girl for a date, go for that job you want) we don't think that's your main issue. Though the "first time" can leave an indelible mark, we don't think that's the issue either.

Look, you two are hooking up and "having fun" with multiple partners. By definition that's not love. He's comfortable with you, but we'd bet he's comfortable with every woman he hooks up with.

Near the end of the movie Up in the Air, a young woman is shown interviewing for a job in San Francisco. This will be her second job after college. When the interviewer asks why she took her first job, a dead-end job in Omaha, she answers candidly. "I followed a boy."

That's what your letter is about. "I graduate in four months; I don't know what job I'll have; I don't know where I'll be. Everything is unsettled and I'm scared."

You are moving on to a completely different stage of life, and of course you are scared.

But this man doesn't love you enough to say, "I'm not comfortable with you hooking up with other men." You don't love him enough to say, "I'm not comfortable with you hooking up with other women." Sex with no strings attached is the opposite of a real relationship.

But at 21 with a college degree, all the possibilities of life are open to you. Don't think about marriage and forever with a hookup.

Go on! Get your new life. Hightail it to your college placement office and schedule job interviews. Explore all the possibilities. Embrace this challenge. Above all, don't become that young woman who has to explain a blunder in her life by saying, "I followed a boy."

Wayne & Tamara