DEAR ABBY: I am a college sophomore and have been dating my boyfriend, "Evan," for nearly a year. I am planning to take a semester abroad at the beginning of my junior year.
Recently, Evan confessed that if I leave, our relationship would have to end. He asserts that being away from me for more than three months would be too painful and scary, not knowing if I was all right. (He has some anxiety issues, for which I have urged him to consider therapy.)
Should I end this relationship now, or continue to see if Evan changes his mind? There's a possibility, depending on program availability and class requirements, that I may not even be able to go. I don't want to break any hearts or inflict any pain. Evan is my best friend, and I'm scared of losing him. -- AMBITIOUS STUDENT IN MARYLAND
DEAR STUDENT: Gather your courage and tell Evan that you love him and want him to be your best friend forever, but that the semester abroad is an opportunity to grow. By the way, your absence will provide Evan with one, too, if he chooses to avail himself of it.
You are right that he needs to work on his anxiety issues. It would be a huge mistake to let them stand in the way of your having the experience of a lifetime if you are lucky enough to get it. There are worse things than being alone, and one of them is being attached to a partner who would hold you back.