DEAR ABBY: My daughter is graduating from high school and will be starting college. It was always her plan to go to a school away from our small town, and I supported that decision. However, six months ago she started dating her first real boyfriend.
His parents have offered to pay all expenses if the two of them live in an apartment and go to school at a college nearby. Financially, this would be very helpful for my daughter, but I'm worried that moving in with a boy at such a young age would be a mistake, and she wouldn't get the full college experience.
Her boyfriend is wonderful, and she is very happy in the relationship. She has a scholarship for free room and board at a college three hours away. I can tell she's very conflicted. What do you think I should encourage her to do? -- STUDENT'S MOM IN MISSOURI
DEAR STUDENT'S MOM: Your concerns are valid. The boyfriend's parents made a generous offer, but although your daughter may be crazy about their son, she should not accept it.
She and this young man are starting new chapters in their lives. They will be meeting people and forming all kinds of new relationships. Forgive me for seeming negative, but what if the romance sours? Will his parents still be willing to pay for room, board and your daughter's education at the same college?
Your daughter has earned her scholarship. Three hours' distance isn't insurmountable. They can still see each other if they wish. But the separation will allow them more time to concentrate on their studies as well as enjoy the full college experience.