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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen Fears She Will Regret Not Choosing Another Path

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Brandon" for three years. I'm 19, going to a four-year college and I'm planning to move in with him. I enjoy his company and can see myself with him in the future, but I wish I hadn't met him so young. I wish I could have experienced more -- other people and situations. I'm afraid I'm falling into a trap where it is more convenient to stay with Brandon.

I don't want to feel confined, but I also don't want to break up with him and find it was the worst decision of my life. We have discussed it. He said he will understand if I want to leave, but I'm afraid it might destroy him.

I enjoy being around Brandon, but I don't want to stay if it means missing half my life. He isn't the most attractive guy compared to others, so maybe that's where all this is coming from. More attractive guys talk to me, and I assume they would treat me as well as Brandon does. Maybe that's what has got me thinking. Some advice, please? -- NOT SURE IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR NOT SURE: Feeling as ambivalent as you do, do not move in with Brandon. To do so would be cheating both of you. Because someone seems more physically attractive than your boyfriend does not guarantee the person would treat you as well -- or better -- than Brandon does. However, this is a lesson you may need to experience firsthand.

It could also be a growth experience for Brandon to date others. He has already told you he will understand if you leave, so he may be emotionally stronger than you give him credit for. This does not mean you won't eventually wind up together, but it may make you both more appreciative of the special relationship you share because you will have something to compare it to.

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