The Teen Doctor

Answers to your questions about adolescents

Should I Break Up With My High School Boyfriend?

Can high school boyfriends be college boyfriends?

Dear Dr. G.,

My friends and I are so happy that you answer questions from teenagers. We are three senior girls in high school who are going to college next year and don't know what to do about our boyfriends. We don't know if we should keep these relationships or break up before we go to college. We like our boyfriends but we think that we may want to date in college and have new experiences. Should we break up now or in college? Are we being stupid breaking up with nice guys and will we regret it? We don't want to ask our parents because we don't want to fight. Can you help us, please? 

3 Confused Teenage Girls

 

Dear Girls,

You are asking some very good questions and I am delighted that you wrote to me. My personal bias is that it is very difficult to maintain long distance relationships if you are going to different colleges than your boyfriends. Long distance relationships tend to be difficult for many reasons including:not seeing each other much, misunderstandings, a growing interest in people around you, and developing new interests that may make you grow apart.

Even if you are going to the same college as your boyfriend it may be very limiting to stay with your high school boyfriends. College is about having new experiences, growing up, and getting to know new people. Perhaps you and your boyfriend can try to remain in touch and see each other during school breaks but with the understanding that college is a time to explore. 

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I know that it is very scary not only to go away to college but also to change the nature of relationships. It is very important that you talk to your boyfriends. They may be having the same feelings that you do. On the other hand, they may be very hurt about the idea of breaking up. Be prepared though because your boyfriends may surprise you by wanting to break up.

If you decide with your boyfriends to give your high school relationships a go while you are away at college then it is important to have a discussion about the following: 

Are you going to date others?

How frequently will you be in contact?

How often do you expect to see each other?

Do either of you have a tendency toward jealousy?

I can't stress how important it is to discuss these issues in person and before you go way to school.

Also, if you are on the shy side you may limit yourself from socializing if you know that you have a boyfriend somewhere else like back home working, at college, or perhaps even in the military. This concerns me. College is a time to push yourself out of your comfort zone and meet new people.

If you do decide to stay together and give the relationship a go after high school please be honest with yourself and each other about how things are working out. You don't want to find out from a third party that your boyfriend is seeing someone else. And, I am sure that you don't want to learn that your high school boyfriend has a crush on a girl that he is working with from a mutual friend. I am sure your high school boyfriend would also be hurt learning about new aspects of your life indirectly. 

Listen, good luck with whatever you do and keep in mind that your high school loves may even become great friends.

Dr.G.

For more articles like this please see my website:

http://www.drbarbaragreenberg.com/blog.html

 

Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents.

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