Love Counseling: No Problem’s a Problem?

Rating: Knowledgeability: 10; Clarity of Response: 10; Timeliness: 10; Politeness: 10; Nomination?  Yes

Comment:  Thanks so much, Carl, for your advice and insight. This is how I was feeling (and what I was thinking) but I guess I wanted some assurance. I’m going to follow what you said, in making sure we continue to grow – having experiences – and not hold each other back and I’m not going to start looking for problems. And yes, I’m fine with you using this on your site. Thanks again for your help, it’s greatly appreciated.

Questioner: Angela

Category: How to Know if You’re Really in Love

Private: No

View Published Answer Subject:

Long-term Relationship at a Young  Age


Hello Carl, I’m seeking some knowledge/advice about my relationship. I’ll be 20 soon, I’m in second year university and my boyfriend and I have been dating since high school (over 3 years). I love him and what we have is near perfect. We’ll be transferring to the same campus next semester and we’ve been talking about living together – something we’re both looking forward to. My concern is that I might be too young to be making such a move in taking that next step and others such as my friends are leading very different lives. Not many of my friends can even imagine being with someone that long, and instead, have mostly random hookups and fleeting relationships. I feel kind of odd because it seems that this is the life I should be living or wanting to live and it isn’t. I’m not envious of them or anything like that but I wonder if maybe I’m not seeing the whole picture. My boyfriend and I have talked about this, asked each other if we have curiosities about others and our answers are pretty much the same. He says he’s sometimes slightly curious but that I’m perfect for him and he doesn’t want to end it just for a new thrill. Should we continue to coast along and see what happens? Or am I heading too deep in the wrong direction? Any help would be greatly appreciated – thanks.

Answer: Dear Angela,

Hi, and how are you, New Friend?

This is the most important question of our time, concerning love in the Western world. There is a sad concept which has become popular, that says we have to soil ourselves in the gritty trenches of multiple relationships on purpose. It is a product of a throw-away culture with a short attention span. The only real reason one should have multiple relationships is by accident. The playboy types may be having fun, and there is nothing wrong with dating several people for a few weeks until you find which person is right for you, but for people to carry on like this for months and years is sad.

I am no prude, but I am not a fool when it comes to love, either. A deeply meaningful, understanding, and productive love relationship between two adults is the most rewarding relationship one will ever have, hopefully. It is a no-brainer to love one’s siblings and one’s parents. It is an entirely monumentous achievement to find a partner not related to you with whom you can experience unconditional love! Wouldn’t you agree?

Your boyfriend is a man. A man is one who knows what is right and wrong and doesn’t bend the rules for his weakness or wanton pleasure. A man also knows that love is the practice and experience through which we truly mature. Your friends cannot imagine being with someone a long time, perhaps because no one around them has taught them by example the wonders and pleasures of a successful, growing, long-term relationship.

If you and your boyfriend love each other and enjoy one another’s company,  you are growing up! Many people do not want the sacrificing, challenging, commitment-oriented conversation which is a relationship, so they delay it by having flings. One can do this, but one can lose years in the process. In my opinion, if you have, as you have said, a “perfect” relationship, I would say, just balance your life by finishing school, being involved with friends and family, and doing sports, traveling, and maintaining hobbies. This way, you two will not suffocate one another.

I think that if you have no problems, the best way to destroy something miraculous, is by looking for them. On the other hand, if you do not love one another, or if you have great doubts coming to you more than once in a blue moon, then either end it, or just keep dating but do not move in together. Doubt is a way of realizing there is something wrong, sometimes.

In conclusion, realize there is no way things are “supposed to be”. Things are as they are, and love is not just a feeling, it is work. Let me know what you think, Angela. I am very interested.

Love, Peace, and Joy,

Carl Atteniese

PS: May I publish this on my website?

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