Dear Annie: I’m 17 years old and, in a few months, will be graduating and going away to college. I’m very excited about it.
My only concern is my boyfriend. I love him, and we’ve been together a long time. “Nick” is a year older, has a job and goes to the local community college. He wants to live with me next year. I am not opposed to this. Nick doesn’t have a happy home life, and I don’t believe either of us will be attracted to someone else.
We have had months of planning and will be able to support ourselves, and I would rather move in with him than live in a dorm. Nick can transfer and work at the same company as a full-time employee until we save enough for him to take night classes.
I haven’t told my mother. She will be paying for my tuition and dorm, and I plan to pay for everything else. She thinks highly of Nick and knows he would never do anything to hurt me. I don’t want to disappoint her, nor do I want her to think less of me. What should I tell her?
Dear Worried: The truth and your reasoning behind it. But first consider what your decision means. How will you feel if Nick decides to keep working and never finishes his education? What happens if one of you finds the new environment has many “attractions” you hadn’t considered? Also, dorm living is a good way to acclimate to college, meet new people and be part of campus life. Will you regret missing out on that? If your mother refuses to pay your rent, can you still afford it?