Dear Son and Girlfriend,
I am writing this to both of you because I care about you both and I’m worried about you both. Susie, I cannot speak for you, but John is so sad about you two going your separate ways in August. I worry that this sadness will shadow your experiences at college and potentially interfere with your grades. John mentioned that you are “breaking up” when you both leave.
Maybe it’s the semantics, but that just sounds awful. I would be dreading that too! Can you agree to still love each other, but give each other this time to grow as individuals? Long distance relationships in college are hard and maybe unrealistic BUT I do know a lot of people who ended up married to their high school sweethearts (just ask me, I’ll give you a list of names). It does happen and they are all still married.
College is such an important time of life. It is a time you actually want to be selfish. This is a time to focus on yourself, find out who you really are as a person. Dream about what you want your future to be and then work to make it happen. You need to focus on YOUR goals, decide the kind of friends YOU want, make YOUR path in life.
What makes this time in your life hard is that love is selfless, love means not thinking of yourself first, but of the other person. Love means putting their needs and their happiness before yours. It is hard to focus on yourself when you are so focused on the person you love. That is what worries me.
I do not want either of you missing out on this time for personal growth because you are so focused on each other. Can you find another way to look at this? Can you tell each other you love each other enough to let each other have this time and wait to see how the future plays out? There is an old saying, not sure who wrote it: “If You Love Something, Set it Free. If It Comes Back to You, It’s Yours. If it Doesn’t, It Never Was.”
There’s also a song (an old song because it’s from my era) Hold On Loosely by 38 Special.
Just hold on loosely
But don’t let go
If you cling too tightly
You’re gonna lose control
Can you put a little Faith in your love that if it is meant to be it will work out? Can you give each other the space you need to grow and make your life paths and hope that you can have a future together once you have both figured out your personal goals?
One of the most important things in a successful, long-lasting relationship is that you have two complete people who are happy and fulfilled as individuals. Those two complete, happy, fulfilled individuals come together and work to make their partner’s life better and happier but they do not expect their happiness to come from that person. You will need faith (and prayers), lots of patience and many deep breaths to give each other the freedom to become your best selves. But doing that is the only chance you have to end up together in the end.
I hate that you seem to have something like a doomsday clock hanging over your heads. Please be happy and enjoy your summer together, don’t get swallowed into this black hole of “we’re never going to see each other again.” Instead, be together, have fun, bring out the best in each other. Then when you do leave for school, please cheer each other on, be a positive force for each other. The best gift you can give each other is positivity about your college adventures, not some depressing Romeo & Juliet scenario.
So please, I ask you both to love each other enough to want what is best for each other. If your love is strong, you will get through this separation. I know it sounds corny, but I do believe that if it is meant to be, it will work itself out, somehow, someway. Even if you do “break up,” keep an open mind and an open heart. And please do not let sadness ruin your freshman year. If all you are is sad, you will come to associate sadness with each other and then you will not stand a chance. Take this time to focus on yourself. Learn and grow and become the best version of you that there is. Only then will you be ready for a lifelong relationship!
I love you and want you both to have an amazing time in college. I am ALWAYS here for you to talk to, about anything.
Julie Huber is a 52-year-old mother of 4 children between the ages of 17-23. She is currently navigating an impending empty nest. After publicly detailing her battle with breast cancer, Julie has decided to share some of her writings. She is currently in the process of designing her personal blog.