Should I Ask Her to Marry Me?
Q. My girlfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. She's going away to college soon and she'll be pretty far away. I'm thinking of going to college somewhere close to her. But she told me she wants to be on her own once she gets to college, no matter where I go to school. She also said she might date other people if she were asked out. I wouldn't mind if she dated other people, as long as she didn't get serious with them. Would it be appropriate for me to ask her to marry me? We wouldn't get married till she's out of college, but I wouldn't mind being engaged to her for four years. I don't want to lose her, because she is the love of my life. Please help.
A. I can understand why you want to get engaged. It's scary to let someone you love walk away with no guarantees she'll ever come back. Engagement seems like a way of holding on to her.
But it's the wrong way. While you may be ready to tie up all the loose ends of the future, she seems to be feeling differently. For her, the move to college will bring new adventures. It sounds like your girlfriend is sending out signals that she wants some space. She's not ready to settle down. She wants to look around and think about her options. Trying to tie her down would be like trying to keep a rocket in a jar. Even if she agreed to an engagement now, she might resent it later on.
The best thing is to show her you understand her need to experience life on her own. Instead of fearing what she'll find, have confidence that she'll want to tell you about her new experiences. If she does end up dating someone else, you may need to back off a little and let her make up her own mind about her future. Give her the freedom to learn more about herself and she may return with joy. Try to tie her down, and she'll just pull harder to get away.
Does that mean you have to break up? Not necessarily. But you do need to be prepared for your relationship to change. If it's already a solid, healthy relationship, your girlfriend's college experiences will add a new dimension to it. If your relationship just can't handle the strain of separation and growth, then maybe it's best to end it now.
It's scary to let go of someone you love, but much less so if you believe God is watching over both of you. He's capable of keeping you together. Will he do it? I don't know. Most people change quite a lot in those first few years out of high school. So put your trust in God, and let him take care of your relationship. You won't regret it, no matter how things turn out.