Updated: November 16, 2013 6:12AM
Dear Abby: I’m a 19-year-old girl in my third semester of college. My boyfriend, “Tom,” attends a community college nearby. Both of us live with our parents. I have had only three boyfriends in my life, and Tom was my high school sweetheart.
Tom just proposed. I immediately accepted, but now I’m second-guessing my decision. We’re just starting our adult lives, and I’m still learning what that entails. I want to study abroad during college to enhance my experience of the world. Also, because neither of us has ever moved beyond our childhood homes, I think we should both have more exposure about the world beyond.
Everyone is supportive of us, including our parents. I will always be committed to Tom and I trust him completely, but I feel that by prematurely locking ourselves in, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Am I overreacting?
Fledging Fiancee in Louisiana
Tell Tom you care for him deeply, but think you jumped the gun. Make it clear that you would like to keep seeing him, but on a nonexclusive basis until you return from your studies abroad. I agree that by prematurely locking yourselves in, the odds of the relationship not lasting are high. Be sure Tom understands that you aren’t trying to end the relationship, only postponing the engagement.
Dear Abby: I was always a laid-back and easygoing person. But I was in a terrible car accident, and ever since I have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. I have received counseling and function pretty well as long as I remain in a calm environment.
My problem is that my husband’s family comes to visit each year for anywhere from four to eight days, and when they’re here my stress level is very high. Their last three visits resulted in my getting migraine headaches, which I had never experienced before, as well as TMJ (pain in my jaw) and painful neuropathy, which the doctor explained was brought on by stress. It has lasted two months.
I like my in-laws, but I am unwilling to deal with more pain as a result of their visits. My husband doesn’t want to send them to a hotel, which I understand. Therefore, I feel that since this is my problem, I should move to a hotel during their visits. What do you think, Abby?
Pushed to the Limit
If you can tolerate their “tumult” on a limited basis, this might solve the problem. If not, then I agree you should stay elsewhere so they can have a good time together. However, this should happen with full disclosure and preferably no hard feelings. If you can see any of them individually for a short time, you should make every effort so they won’t feel you are avoiding them for any other reason.