What advice would you give this 21 year old if she were your sister or friend

She has been awarded a fully-funded scholarship to study abroad, but her boyfriend has asked to her to stay or choose between their relationship and the scholarship?

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Comments: 5
  1. Alice

    Take the scholarship. Dump the boyfriend. It’s not a close call.

    Question #1: Five years from now, which of these two things will she still have? The education or the boyfriend?

    Her education will last forever.
    The boyfriend will be history within a year or two.

    Question #2: What would a boyfriend who cared about his girlfriend’s best interests ask her to do?

    This guy is selfish, selfish, selfish. He’s only interested in what’s best for him and doesn’t care about what’s best for her. Furthermore, he’s asking her to sacrifice something that is of enormous, lasting value.

    Any guy who would act like this is a guy who doesn’t deserve to have a girlfriend. He doesn’t have her best interests at heart.

    Question #3: Imagine that the roles were reversed. Would she ask her boyfriend to sacrifice a fully funded scholarship to study abroad, and threaten to dump him if he accepted the scholarship?

    She wouldn’t, would she?

    And why wouldn’t she? Because she would realize that asking someone to give up a fully funded scholarship to study abroad is an incredibly selfish thing to do.

    Question #4: Is dating a guy who would give her an ultimatum in her best interests?

    This is controlling behavior. It’s unhealthy. It’s the first step on the road to an abusive relationship.

  2. Ivy

    I remember struggling with this issue when my girlfriend was accepted to grad school. I knew what the right answer was, but it took me a while to grow into that. Never got from the sad stage to the ultimatum stage though.

    And no, our relationship did not survive the separation, but our friendship did. That has to be okay.

  3. Ursula

    I did exactly this (five years of university at my fingertips) and dropped out for love, marriage, and the prospect of babies. My biggest regret.

  4. Pavlinka (author)

    If he was serious about wanting a future with her and couldn’t handle the prospect of a long distance relationship then he would move heaven and earth to go with her and help support her while she was studying. Twenty One is an ideal age to get out there and learn to be independent while seeing a bit of the outside world.

    At best he would have proven his commitment while helping to build a stronger foundation for their shared future. At worst he would have learned something of independence and the responsibilities that come with showing support for a partner.

  5. Doug

    While I agree with your main point that one’s education should supersede romantic relationships, your answer contains a lot of unfair assumptions about the boyfriend.

    All we know from the question is that a girl was given a scholarship to study oversees, the boyfriend has asked her to stay, and that if she does go then the relationship will end.

    I see nothing which screams SELFISH! or POTENTIAL FUTURE ABUSER! It’s possible that he is those things, but it’s impossible to say without (a lot) more information.

    Nor do I think that the girl’s choice is between getting an education oversees or being a cashier at the local Piggly Wiggly; a student who receives a full-ride scholarship to a European university has probably also received competitive offers from colleges and universities here at home.

    Maybe accepting this particular scholarship is not in her best interest. Maybe that’s a big part of why the boyfriend doesn’t want her to go.

    Maybe, just maybe, he does care about her future, in the same way that you are so certain that she would care about his future were the situation reversed.

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