Dear Harlan: I am 20 years old and have spent the past six and a half years with my high-school sweetheart and best friend. He is a really amazing person and so good to me. However, recently I feel as if I need a break or something. Next fall I will be heading to the main campus of a state college, and he will be staying at Penn State Altoona. At first I was sad about being away from him, but it actually has turned into a little bit of anxiousness and excitement – I know that sounds horrible. I just feel like we are growing apart and want different things out of life. I feel very disconnected from him. The hard part is that I know that he truly loves me and would do anything for me and would never hurt me. In all of the years that we have been together, I never noticed other guys – but this semester I did, which just added to the confusion already going on inside my head. It’s not that I even am interested in this other guy, but it just freaked me out a little that I even noticed him. My parents are divorced, which I think makes me nervous about commitment because I don’t want to be in their shoes. Do you think it’s right to take a break so that both of us could see what else is out there, considering all we know is each other and have become very comfortable with that?
Dear O: You’re FREEEEEEE. Wait. This is going to be hard. Still, it’s the most loving thing you can do for yourself, your boyfriend, and this relationship. Here’s why — you don’t know if your boyfriend is your best choice or your only choice. Your boyfriend has been your No. 1 source of love and confidence since you were 14 years old. He’s always been there for you. You’ve always been there for him. Taking a break means learning to stand on your own two feet as individuals. It’s time to figure out who you are and what you want. Expect to feel confused, sad, scared and lonely at times. This doesn’t mean you need to run back to him, it means you need to take time to learn how to love yourself without him.