Are you struggling with dating after college graduation? There is a big difference between a college relationship and a mature adult relationship. Let our dating coach's response to this reader help you.
Trouble with Dating after College Graduation
Dear Lori, my boyfriend and I have been together for over a year and a half. I feel that we are not connected. I am a freshman in college and he just graduated from college. He is now working in a county over from mine. He comes in every other day and stays for weekends. Even though I see him a lot, it still feels weird. I miss the man I fell in love with at first, not this stressed out man that takes his stress out on me. I hate it. I know there are other guys that would love to date me but I don't want to lose him; it's been so long. We argue sometimes, in which I hate, yet we have our good moments too (which is more than arguing). We probably get in a good size argument at least once every other week. I have no idea if he just wants to have sex with me as make-up sex or if he truly loves me and means it every time. I don't know whether to end things for a while and see other people or try to solve this issue. If possible, can you help me....I'm stuck. Thanks.-- Contributed by: Danielle
Over the past year and half you and your boyfriend have been at similar places in your lives, you both were in school. Even though the two of you were in different grades, your lifestyles were in a similar place. Both of you had to balance studying with socializing and family. Finances and living arrangements were based on being students and although you might have felt that college life made you independent, both of you were still dependent. The expectations in college are based on what your professors expect from you. Should you not meet these expectations, the worst that could happen was a poor grade and perhaps upset parents. The most stressful aspect of your lives during this time came at finals. Similarly, most of your friends were also students, with similar struggles.
Now that your boyfriend has graduated, he and you are no longer in similar places with similar lifestyles and similar stresses. For your boyfriend, these different expectations come from his boss, co-workers and the company he works for, which create much different stresses than those of a professor. Here the worst thing that can happen is he loses his job and with it his financial independence. Your boyfriend is learning how to manage the expectations of his career with balancing the lifestyle he used to have. This developmental stage separates him from you and as a result, the two of you are now at different stages in your lives, most likely for the first time. Eventually you too will experience the move from dependence to full independence, but until then this stage of life is foreign to you. This may be part of the reason you are having a difficult time relating to your boyfriend in the same way as before. The other reason may have to do with not knowing how to support your boyfriend as he learns how to adjust to this new stage of life.
You are personalizing his reaction to stress rather than trying to be supportive and understanding. Herein lies the core of the problem, your boyfriend is moving from boyhood into manhood with all the privileges and responsibilities that come with such growth and you are still in the last stages of childhood. This is not a judgment on you, but rather an attempt to help you understand your dilemma.
It is likely that the difficulty of not being able to relate to each other will continue to grow and cause more of a rift in your relationship. I support your idea to ending things for a while and dating other people. This makes a lot of sense and is a very wise decision on your part. This is a time in your life when you should be enjoying the lighthearted and fun experiences college provides.