Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I love my partner very, very much, but we’re seniors. I have to decide if I want to pursue opportunities after college around the country, or limit myself to places my partner may be going. Is it worth it? How do I know? I’m not sure my partner would do the same for me (if their future was a little more up in the air and mine was more concrete), but it’s something we're sort of avoiding. How do I know if it’s special enough?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?


Dear Should I Go,

This is an incredibly tough decision, and one that a lot of seniors will be facing in a few short months. Luckily, if both you and your partner are graduating in May, you have some time to talk things over before the big leap. Your twenties are going to be the prime of your life, when you have the time and freedom to travel and experience crazy, fantastic things. If somebody is getting in the way of that, you have a serious decision to make. I’m worried about the fact that you’re considering limiting your post-grad plans when you think that your partner would not do the same if the situation were reversed. That being said, you can’t make such a big decision without putting the question out in the open, even if you think you already know the answer. At some point, you have to ask your partner what they would do if they were in your shoes. If they would choose to Jack Kerouac it around the country and leave you behind, then you should do just the same, period. If they would narrow their plans to involve you, then your decision is harder.

So let’s get to the heart of the matter: do you want to marry this person? If not, you should be grateful that you had a wonderful college relationship, but leave your partner behind and move onto the next exciting chapter in your life. If you hear wedding bells in your future, you have three options: (1) come to some sort of compromise, (2) limit yourself to your partner’s location, or (3) have a long distance relationship. It’s hard to speculate on a compromise without knowing the details of your post-grad plans, but maybe the two of you can switch off on whose ambitions you put first. If you want to travel the world, for instance, your partner could take a year off from grad school and come with you, and then you could settle into life at their new university. If a compromise is impossible, you have to decide if you’re willing to give up opportunities for your partner. Do you think you would resent your partner for holding you back? Would having the perfect spouse outweigh the experiences and opportunities that you would be giving up? If you sense potential resentment, your last option is a long distance relationship. They are, without a doubt, incredibly trying, but it might be worthwhile in your case, so that you can live large while still holding on to the one you love. If you work through these questions and possible scenarios, I think you’ll know whether you should stay or go.

Much love,
Miss Lonely Hearts