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He's 23 -- should he commit?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 6, 2009 11:19 AM

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This guy has FOMO (fear of missing out). Let's help.

Q: I have been dating this girl for about a year, she's 26 and I'm 23 and recently she has become very interested in "taking the next step," so to speak. She's always been very serious about the relationship, and so have I. Right now she lives about an hour and a half outside of Boston but I'm able to see her regularly, and with my graduation in the Spring I plan on staying out here. We've discussed the idea of her moving out here and us living together.

Being older, she's had the opportunity to date, meet people and have relationships. I, on the other hand, am shier and have only had one previous long-term relationship. I also haven't really dated or had the so-called "college-hookup" experience. I've started worrying that I have missed out on some sort of important aspect of life, dating and meeting people, awkward morning afters, etc. I think this is happening because she is sacrificing everything to move out here with me. I'm nervous that after that step, marriage, a house and kids are already in the bag.

It's not even that I care about hooking up with people, it's just that I feel I'm missing out on something. I come from the school of thought where taking "breaks" never work out but I can't shake the notion that she's had her fun and is ready to settle down and maybe I'm not. What should I do?

Future Freaks Me Out, Boston

A: What should you do, Future Freaks Me Out?

I’d say take this letter and forward it to her. Maybe add a few lines about a break-up. Everything about this letter says that you’re more afraid of missing out on experiences than losing her. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a 23-year-old who has more independent living to do before you’re ready to settle down.

People always say “timing is everything,” and they’re right. You may care about her -- you may even love her -- but if you’re not ready, you’re not ready. The best thing you can do is tell her that she shouldn’t move to Boston, especially if you’re the reason for the move. It will take courage, but FOMO (fear of missing out) doesn’t go away. Not at 23. Be honest with her so she can start planning for herself.

Readers? Agree? Can you help FFMO with his FOMO? Share your thoughts here.

Also, I need your letters. Let us make it all better. Submit here.

-- Meredith

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66 comments so far...
  1. Sounds to me like your issue has nothing to do with her and more to do with YOU. Missing out on something - AKA "sowing your oats" is something you should have done - or should still do if you are not ready to settle into a relationship - which sounds like the case here. You would be better off explaining this to her, taking a break from the relationship and having a little fun. At 23, a serious relationship is the last thing you need. Once you play the field a little you may have it out of your system enough to date seriously. If you dont and jump into a relationship in the current situation, this will always be on the back of your mind and will hinder the relationship. Been there.

    Posted by Ziggy123 February 6, 09 11:47 AM
  1. Sounds to me like your issue has nothing to do with her and more to do with YOU. Missing out on something - AKA "sowing your oats" is something you should have done - or should still do if you are not ready to settle into a relationship - which sounds like the case here. You would be better off explaining this to her, taking a break from the relationship and having a little fun. At 23, a serious relationship is the last thing you need. Once you play the field a little you may have it out of your system enough to date seriously. If you dont and jump into a relationship in the current situation, this will always be on the back of your mind and will hinder the relationship. Been there.

    Posted by Ziggy123 February 6, 09 11:48 AM
  1. You really should have gone to a few more keg parties in college.
    Sleep on it... with another woman!

    Posted by The Fonze February 6, 09 12:03 PM
  1. One more little comment - If you're 23 and you only had one LTR and no "hook-ups", what makes you think that waiting a few more eyars will change that?

    You should probably break up with her since you really don't love her - if you really would, you would know it.

    Still, I wouldn't bet much on your odds of experiencing any of the stuff you're fearing that you'll miss out on. I would though put money on you being in the exact same position 5 years from now - uncommited, afraid to commit because you'd miss out on something, and nowhere closer to experiencing it.

    Posted by HBX February 6, 09 12:07 PM
  1. You are lucky to have found someone you love without having to go through the BS that most of us do. There are plenty of couples who start dating exclusively in college who end up very happily married. The main thing is how you really feel about this woman. If you are happy with her and passionate about her you shouldn't let fears of what you are missing out on get in the way. I think its natural to have these worries right before making a big commitment.

    Posted by Carla February 6, 09 12:10 PM
  1. You wouldn't be writing this letter if you were really ready, willing and able to commit to this woman. She is clearly more serious about this relationship than you are. You need to be honest with her so she can decide what she wants to do next. Trust me, when you meet the right person, you will know it and WANT to commit.

    Posted by michele February 6, 09 12:12 PM
  1. Dude.....what are you thinking? The last thing you want to do at 23 is get married. NFW. Having a steady relationship is great. I'm all for that. Getting married in your early 20's? NFW. Oh yeah....at 26 she's too young too. Unless you are well off financially, then fricking forget it. Buying a house and having kids is an expensive proposition. Not to mention kids change your life. I have 2 young boys, and are very comfortable. To think of all the fun I would have missed out if I had kids at a young age.....wow. I would have been an idiot. I'm not talking about hook ups....I'm talking about the freedom to come and go as you please. Kiss that goodbye if you get married and then have kids. Adios. Sayonara.

    My advice: go make some money. Save it. Get yourself a career. Mingle. Travel. Focus on your professional interests. Go enjoy life. Then in your early 30's start thinking about getting married and kids.

    Finally. Marriage is easy to accomplish and costs little to get into the club. Divorce, on the other hand, is expensive and can be a time and money sucking machine....and you could very well end up screwed for 5+ years.

    Posted by BigDuke February 6, 09 12:16 PM
  1. After a year together, please don't break up with her by forwarding this column! Tacky and rude. However, please do break up with her! Sounds like she is not your soulmate, and you are staying w her because of fear of the unknown. I advise not dating for a while after you break up. Find yourself, find your reasons to be confident.

    Posted by catherine February 6, 09 12:20 PM
  1. I'll be blunt. I did NOT date all that much before getting married. And I cheated. (I'm a woman.) Not just with one man either. I never, ever thought I would, and am still happily married (never got caught). I think I needed to satisfy my own curiosity to come to the conclusion that I did, in fact, marry the right person for me and was acting recklessly.

    23 is way young, especially for a man. One of the men I cheated with had gotten married at 22, and already he was straying at 27. If you have to think about it, you have your answer right there!

    Posted by JaDe February 6, 09 12:20 PM
  1. Basically, the writer of the letter just isn't mature enough to see himself as a responsible adult who wants to make it work with this woman. The other childish stuff still appeals to him and he can't convince himself he's not missing out. He's just not in the right place for a serious relationship.

    Posted by squid February 6, 09 12:23 PM
  1. Yeah. That's a tough one. I've been there, too and decided to commit to the relationship. It worked out well.

    The bigger "next step" is kids. If she wants to have kids WAY before you, then I would end it now.

    I wouldn't worry too much about your fear of missing out. At first, living with someone can be really confining. But that passes. And if your fear is that you will not have had "relations" with enough women... there really is no limit to number of women the typical guy wants to have relations with anyway. Having lots of partners will not help you get this feeling out of your system.

    Posted by Otto February 6, 09 12:25 PM
  1. Ja de,

    Sounds like you should have a letter in here and not be giving advice!! I hope your husband finds out and kicks you to the Cizurb!!

    Posted by josh2t6th February 6, 09 12:42 PM
  1. How funny. You say you are and have always been very serious about the relationship, but the concept of living with the girl strikes you with fear of missing out. Would you not be missing out on all these potential hookups if you continued to date without living together?

    I wonder if your real fear is that she is making a commitment by changing her whole life to be with you, and you will feel responsible to her in return. Perhaps a conversation is in order, in which you both try to agree now on how things will work if this living arrangement does not work out.

    For instance, if one of you is going to be financially dependent on the other for any length of time, you definitely need to work out timelines for how long and under what circumstances that will continue be the case. That is not a bad conversation to have in any event, and much better before it happens. Perhaps you could agree to jointly put some money in an untouchable account which will cover moving expenses and first month's rent should things not work out.

    Seriously, you need to work out things like this beforehand anyway, while
    you are still at a distance. This is not the time to be shy.

    Posted by sue February 6, 09 12:42 PM
  1. i agree w/ BigDuke. He is SO RIGHT. I'm 27 now but when I was 25 i was seeing someone who was a few years younger than me. We broke up after he graduated and we have always remained friends. Yea i was a little crushed at first but i got over it after a couple of weeks. I assume this girl is not an idiot so she has to realize that you are too young to settle down. So if you end things with her it's not going to be as shocking as you think. She'll eventually meet an older guy and she'll be done with guys your age forever. Just remember the cookie crumbles the way it's supposed to

    Posted by hot pancake February 6, 09 12:48 PM
  1. If you love this girl, and she's your best friend, and she will enrich your life for decades, and be a great mother to your children (if applicable), and support you through thick and thin, professionally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and you can do the same for her, THEN WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED? Sex with other women? Why? Hookups are fleeting things. You're not missing anything. You need to quash that part of your psyche (which has been unhealthfully nurtured in our culture) that makes you feel that you "need" these physical/material things. You're a man after all. Go to her.

    Posted by Dirigo February 6, 09 12:49 PM
  1. Run my son. Run long, run far! Get your own place. Develop a career, travel, save some money, enjoy YOUR life. If she wants to keep seeing you, fine. You should absolutely, positively see other women. (and I'd tell her exactly why, don't lie...it's quite exhillarating and empowering to say and do what you feel like doing) The internet is a treasure trove of women. Do you have any idea the amount of sex you can have with women from all these dating sites? It's like a supermarket that you don't even have to leave the house to go shopping! Maybe you'll find someone you'll like better. If your in a serious relationship before the age of 32, then don't come crawling to us about your divorce and child support payments....

    Posted by Never wrong February 6, 09 01:06 PM
  1. I think your feelings are perfectly natural, and I think that way because I also felt that way. I was very much in a similar situation having never really been in any other significant relationship before getting married. At one point, I started worrying about the same exact things you mentioned... and then I got over it. I figured that since I was with the person I wanted to be with, there was no point in dwelling on things that might have been with other people. I suppose the key is knowing whether or not you really want to be with your gf. If possible, you should figure that out before she takes the trouble of moving all of her things to be with you.

    It doesn't sound like you necessarily want to end things with her. It sounds more like you're nervous because your gf is making the conscious decision to leave her realm to be with you. It sounds like you are worried that her moving out to be with you means that before you know it, you'll be getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc. That isn't necessarily the case. If you haven't already, you might want to consider having a serious conversation about the future. You should let her know you're not ready for things like marriage, a house and kids. She may be nowhere near ready for that kind of stuff either! If she is, then you two are clearly at different stages in your life and that is something you two will need to figure out.

    Posted by Sue2 February 6, 09 01:09 PM
  1. I'm 27, got married at 25 and my husband was 23. We'd dated through college and as such didn't have any "hookups" either, though we had our fun (in separate cities and colleges) w/o cheating. We're very happily married, but it's because we had no doubts that we weren't missing out on any fun by being with each other. We both have healthy lives apart from one another and lived on our own before getting married. No regrets! It sounds like the issue here isn't age, but commitment level -- don't fall into the trap of thinking that moving in together will clarify , because it won't.. Likewise don't listen to people tell you that 23 is too young to commit if you know it's the one. Good luck!

    Posted by Anonymous February 6, 09 01:13 PM
  1. You're only 23 and obviously aren't ready to settle down. Do yourself and her a favor and break it off. It's not fair to string her along.

    Posted by PJ February 6, 09 01:14 PM
  1. When you truly love someone you know it and there is never any doubt or fear that you need to experience more out of life without this person. This girl needs to find someone who is crazy about her and is only thinking about spending the rest of his life with her.

    Posted by Maggie February 6, 09 01:15 PM
  1. No man should commit to anyone before they are 28. Should be a law.

    Posted by Mike February 6, 09 01:17 PM
  1. Big Duke, that was some good advise!

    Ja De, you are a filty WHORE and should be ashamed of yourself! Karma is a bitch so be prepared! It is has not cought up with you by now, it will soon!

    And yes Meredith, even though you hardly EVER post my comments, I think you gave the best advise in your answer.

    Posted by The Horn February 6, 09 01:18 PM
  1. You do not sound like you are ready for a commitment. You really should talk to her before she changes her entire life for you. You need to be honest with your girlfriend.

    Posted by been there done that February 6, 09 01:29 PM
  1. If you have to ask the question you are not mature enough to make this decision. When I was 23, I was dating the person I would eventually marry and I never had a question about whether it was the right thing or not. When it's right, you will know. On the other hand, it sounds like you two have always been long-distance. Maybe you would have a better perspective if you dated while living close to each other. Living together is not the only option here. Do yourself a favor and just be honest with her and leave it up to her to decide whether she should still move to Boston or not and whether she still wants to date you or not. Do NOT move in together and hope that it just "works out."

    Posted by ramona February 6, 09 01:34 PM
  1. one "awkward morning after" with someone else and you'll want to run back to her.

    the grass is always greener...

    Posted by bk February 6, 09 01:38 PM
  1. You remind me of Kyle from Road Trip or any one of the Tri Lambs from Revenge of the Nerds. What kind of college do you go to, All Guys University? You havent experienced the "college hookups"? Hook ups fall on your lap in college unless you sit in your dorm/apartment all the time like a hermit, and even still they happen. You have until graduation in the spring, so get out there to the keg parties, college bars, and freshman dorms and make up for lost time because you ARE missing out! You dont even have to mention this to your girl because she lives an hour and a half outside of Boston. She wont find out.

    Posted by Bud February 6, 09 01:50 PM
  1. I remember you JaDe. Dont worry, I still havent told anyone.

    Posted by Bud February 6, 09 01:55 PM
  1. JaDe, is that you?! How could you?! It was the UPS guy wasn't it?

    Posted by JaDe's soon to be ex-husband February 6, 09 01:58 PM
  1. This basically touches on the age old idea of wanting to have your your cake and eat it too. At your age, you should be seeing the world, learning about yourself, and figuring out your place in the big picture of life. But wanting to do that, while you keep a woman on hold - on the back burner, so you can have a fall back - just shows how immature and selfish you are.

    Go sow your oats, date several women, have some fun. But do it as a free agent. So on the nights you strike out, you get to go home alone and truly understand what it feels like to be rejected. Understanding both sides of the coin now, will make you a better man down the road. Only through success and failure, can you truly appreciate what having a good person in your life really means. At that point you realize that, then you will be ready for a meaningful adult relationship.

    Posted by Chris P February 6, 09 01:58 PM
  1. Why are people making this guy out to be a jerk who has already stepped out on his gf? He's simply asking if he should break things off for the time being and see what else is out there. He never once said he didn't love her, just that he isn't sure if he is ready for forever.

    Posted by Anthony February 6, 09 02:01 PM
  1. JaDa - you're marriage is not "happy" and you live a lie.

    And FFMO - at 23, I suggest you not worry too much about how much you haven't slept around. I'd be way more concerned about having some meaningful coin in an insured bank account before getting married. You get married, one morning, you find out a kid is coming...you are educated enough to figure out the rest.

    Posted by saltzone February 6, 09 02:07 PM
  1. You actually sound like a sweet, level headed guy...none of us know if you're ready or not, only you know that. What I can say, is that I agree with an earlier post, if you haven't done the things you think you're "supposed" to have done (hook ups, awkward morning afters), they are probably not you or your personality type! If you really think that is what you want, GO FOR IT! If you want to do it only because you think you "should" or you're missing out on something, trust me YOU'RE NOT!! I was a very atypical college student (didn't party didnt' hook up), and still didn't after college, sure, sometimes I felt the pressure, but for the most part, I'm happy I didn't deal with all that BS and drama of it all and quite content with where and I how I've ended up.

    Posted by Anonymous February 6, 09 02:08 PM
  1. If you think you're missing out on something then you're not ready for a big commitment. If you think it's important to go out and have lots of experience with other people then you should go do that. When you find the person you should be spending your life with, you'll know it and you won't be having these doubts.

    Posted by Ginger February 6, 09 02:18 PM
  1. When I was reading your letter I noticed that you never mentiond if you love her, or if she loves you. She may be ready to take the next step, but is she doing for the right reasons? Sometimes people feel pressure from friends, family, society, or their own internal clock and take a step that they may be ready for, emotionally and chronologically, but don't have the right person in their live to take it with. I don't know you, but it's clear you are not ready for that step, and while your own experience, age, and maturity are good reasons, the truth is that you and this woman are not on the same page in many ways and she just isn't the right girl for you.

    Posted by Me February 6, 09 02:19 PM
  1. FOMO because you think dating, meeting new people, and one night stands are important aspects of life is nonsense. However, FOMO because you're not sure what love is or if you've really found it is a legitimate concern. If this is what's troubling you, definitely talk to her about it, she may be asking herself the same questions.

    Posted by bostonlow February 6, 09 02:20 PM
  1. Freaks me out......voice of experience here. Sow those wild oats. You really only get one chance. After that things get very complicated. Don't do it until you know, for certain, that you are ready. Then give it another year or two. In any given area there are a number of people we can "fall in love with" for a variety of reasons. The two questions to ask yourself are; Do I want to spend the rest of my life with this person (even though that may not happen)? Does being with this person make me want to be a better person?

    Posted by Old Dude February 6, 09 02:25 PM
  1. Be honest and tell the girl you're not ready for a serious relationship. You still have a lot of growing up to do. The fact that this 26 year old girl has a 23 year old boyfriend is a little weird in itself. It's about the same as if the girl was 18 and the guy 15....there's a big lag in maturity and development.

    Posted by Move on February 6, 09 02:38 PM
  1. Before you make any decisions, you need to think about a few things. You say you've only had a couple long term relationships (including this one) and thay you haven't really done the college hook up thing. Now, do you think you'll find somone better than the girl you have ? If she's nice, attractive has a good job and likes you, you might not want to throw that away at a chance to have a couple one night stands with sloppy Boston girls (truly a terrible breed of females) and/or not find anyone better. I would think long and hard about what you have now because there's not much talent in Boston to choose from. Trust me. Girls in Boston are either attractive with boyfriends or fat with attitudes.

    Posted by Bill Thompson February 6, 09 02:44 PM
  1. If you really love her, and this "fear of missing out" is the only thing stopping you from moving forward with her, perhaps you had better think about the fear of never experiencing a wife and kids because you let your soulmate go.

    Posted by pickupsticks February 6, 09 02:51 PM
  1. This is actually really simple, ask yourself the following questions and you will know what the right answer is.

    Do you feel happy when you see her?

    Does she laugh at your jokes?

    Have you argued with her and BOTH of you have apologized for being in the wrong?

    Posted by Rob L February 6, 09 03:01 PM
  1. Hey JaDe,

    Did you cheat on your husband with me??? I banged at least a few married chicks over the years and some engaged and some living with guys or just dating them. I had a great time and left my mark on quite a number of you whores out there. Nothing better than sending a chick out of my bed back to her miserable relationship with a sore crotch filled with my goo...Maybe I even have kids out there and don't know it since some other guy is raising them.

    To the letter writer, just join SportsClub/LA and you can take your pick of whores to have casual sex with. Married or single they are all a bunch of whores over there looking for something better. Without trying I nailed at least 10 of them and 8 were married and YES I have pictures to prove it. If I wasn't nailing more than one at a time over there I would have continued my membership but after they show their true colors and become stalkers etc... I had to leave. Too bad, it was a nice gym except for all the married tramps.

    Posted by robbie the trainer on steroids and cheats February 6, 09 03:07 PM
  1. I think JaDe is giving great advice, because she has been there. And now she knows she married the right guy. Doesn't mean she is advising he get married now and have affairs. Josh2t6th needs to mind his own business. FFMO, it's true that if you can bear the thought of losing her, it's not the right time/woman. Don't let her move out here and pressure you. Good luck

    Posted by Holly February 6, 09 03:08 PM
  1. I cheated on my wife too, as a matter of fact with a younger girl from my work. The wife and the young girl had no clue and so far no one has found out. Some day I may get caught but for now I have some nice memories. It cost me a little cash paying for an abortion but overall it was great fun. My wife is stupid and loves me unconditionally due to her insecurities will probably never figure out I am a cheating loser. You should make sure she is as dumb as my wife and then go out and have fun behind her back. That way you get the cow at home and go out for milk whenever you want. Milk comes in many varieties, try them all!!! I can't wait to taste my next variety of milk...any women interested? I work in Brookline and have a lot of free time during the day. Real Estate is a great profession for a guy looking to get a little side action. There is another idea, go in to real estate, lots of benefits, and places to have affairs without renting a hotel.

    Posted by Neil Campbell February 6, 09 03:13 PM
  1. OMG, you're so young! Go out and enjoy your life! Your letter comes across like you want to sew your oats, but honestly, I think you (I don't care how mature you think you are) want life experiences to have a well rounded view of life.

    However, I do question how much more life experiences you think your girlfriend has over you in those 3 years in your age difference.

    If things are good, why change? If she's a smart girl, she won't move in with you. Nothing against you, but you both need your independence and space. If I were her, I'd ask myself, why am I moviing for a guy?

    Good luck! Just my two cents!

    Posted by Jerri February 6, 09 03:14 PM
  1. Future Freaks Me Out,

    I think a lot of guys in their thirties would envy being in your position. They might look back on their twenties, which they may have spent casually dating, "sowing oats" (or whatever that term means), maybe even sleeping around, and if they're honest they'd have some serious regrets. The best sex is had in the confines of a loving marriage. Think of this - do you think you may feel uneasy about her moving in because of the nature of what it signifies? Sex is made for marriage and if she moves in with you its as if you're saying I want to take what you've got to give but I'm not willing to make any promises. It's a very uncomfortable situation you'd be getting yourself into, even if you DO decide to marry her, believe me. Here's the kicker, you're thinking of having her "move in" with you, which is a symbol, but there's no real binding commitment. If you're serious about her, you should be honest with her about your doubts, but you may be at a point where the best thing to do might be to take a gamble and consider making that real next step. Marriage is really exciting, and a lot of fun within the first few years. If I were you, I'd jump on it. It's what sex was made for!

    Posted by Jeremy February 6, 09 03:15 PM
  1. Yep, I'm sure she's had her fun (not just with the girls). Your best bet is to stay in a relationship with her, but make sure to have something on the side. She's 1.5 hours away....I'm sure her eyesight isn't that good! Also, what she knows won't hurt her. You're acting like you're married. You may find this new girl you're with better looking and more fun. Gotta jet, but remember... play on playa!!

    Posted by Bud February 6, 09 03:15 PM
  1. You are a loser...stop writing for help and go out and sow your oats but tell her nothing!!! Have her move here after you are done having fun with "friends" and all is well. You need your friends night so use it wisely young man. And because I sense you aren't that bright "friends" to her is the guys, "friends" to you is the random broad you bring home for a night of freaky sex.

    Got it? If not you are dumber than I thought.

    Posted by Alecia February 6, 09 03:22 PM
  1. JADE?

    Probably still cheating but made you feel better saying you don't anymore huh? You are as good as garbage and I hope your husband catches your cheating a$$ and kicks you out. Trolls like you should be condemned. More women cheat than I have ever expected. I am single and out there on the scene a lot and see more women hiding their rings or setting up time to get laid with guys other than their "loved one". I admit, I slept with a few of them, usually a bachelorette party or girls night out after work that I find them. I am a single guy so why not enjoy myself right? Recently the dental convention was here, THANK YOU!!! Love you out of town whores!!! I wonder if that tramp in Gloucester is still cheating on her husband? It's Friday night and I am going out to the nicer bars and I will be looking for an easy lay, maybe JADE or one of her friends will be out? I am the guy with the big stick and I know how to use it.

    Posted by robbiesteroiduser February 6, 09 03:30 PM
  1. You're only 23. You will be experiencing SO much more in life, and things change so fast. Don't commit right now. Believe me, you're still learning the ropes. Enjoy your time. My guess is that she's hearing her biological clock ticking and wants to get pregnant before she's 30. Don't do it. Wait. You'll be happier in the long run.

    Posted by Rider3 February 6, 09 03:42 PM
  1. Cathy from Gloucester still out there cheating on her husband? I think she is over 40 and likes to get railed pretty hard from what I heard at the gym. Maybe you could get a hold of her and sow your oats? I hear she is pretty easy and doesn't use condoms if you are into that? Be careful I heard she was a little nuts.

    Posted by Boston gym guy February 6, 09 03:43 PM
  1. Suggest a trial separation. If the thought of losing her bothers you more than the thought of loosing your freedom, get back together.

    Posted by Debbie R. February 6, 09 03:48 PM
  1. Yeah, FOMO doesn't go away. FOMO eats away at you until you satisfy it by breaking up with your gf. But you should know that what you feel like you're missing out on - love, infatuation, excitement, sex - is not what you're actually missing out on - lots of women you're not attracted to, not interested in, not compatible with, won't have good sex with, and lots and lots of loneliness. I recently broke up with my gf to satisfy FOMO. She and I were pretty perfect together, there was nothing wrong with our relationship, and when I was explaining what I did to a friend (and justifying it to her), I couldn't think of a single good reason for doing it. It was a huge mistake. Didn't take me a day to realize it, but now it might be too late to fix things. I can't tell you how to fight that feeling that drives men to do stupid, stupid things, but if there is nothing wrong with your relationship, you've got to be a grown up and draw the line. Go all in. Forget about every woman but her. Love her and cherish her and marry her. You won't regret it.

    Posted by Zach February 6, 09 03:50 PM
  1. Here comes Jeremy - spreading the gospel of marriage, like some judgmental huckster on a traveling salvation show...LOL. The best sex is in the confines of marriage? Now THAT is funny. Clearly you are a newlywed - give it some time brother, and while you are at it, go out and eat the same meal day after week after year...over and over. Sounds exciting doesn't it?

    Posted by Rubirosa February 6, 09 03:50 PM
  1. Speaking from experience - 23 is too young to commit unless you live in a country where the life expectancy is 45.

    I don't think this has anything to do with your fear of commitment -- I think your intuition/higher spirits are telling you that now is not the right time for you t o make a commitment. She may be a wonderful woman and I am sure that you love her, but please have faith that when the time is right you will meet the right person and have no difficulties settling down. Just not now...

    Your life is still ahead of you and I suspect you have many, many adventures to experience before you are ready for marriage and its responsibilities.

    Be true to yourself and don't minimize the doubts you have --- they are telling you something very important.

    Posted by jtois February 6, 09 04:00 PM
  1. I do agree that you should not let her move to Boston without talking to her about this issue. Clearly, you're not ready for commitment, and she should be able to assess her own risk before taking such a huge step.

    That being said, I DON'T think it's essential to "sow your oats." In fact, I think the concept itself is pretty stupid. That's not to say that you shouldn't date around to find what's right for you. However, we live in a society where men are encouraged to date/sleep with as many women as possible before being tied down, and where men are considered unusual for committing to a relationship.

    If you're having this many doubts, you need to take some time to figure out what you want, and whether you want it because of what everyone else expects of you, or because it's what you want.

    Looking at some of the advice here--DON'T cheat on her or be dishonest with you so that you don't have to take your own risks and make sacrifices. And while many commenters here are clearly proving me wrong, I've always felt that part of growing up is understanding that you have to make serious decisions. You can stay with this woman, or you can end the relationship and meet new people. But if you're going to cheat on her, then you're a loser, especially since right now, it's not as if you have feelings for anyone else.

    Keep in mind that having her move out to Boston does NOT mean that you're agreeing to marry her and make babies. In fact, if you haven't discussed it already, talk to her about what the move would mean for you.

    Of course, if you're really this anxious about "losing your freedom," then end the relationship, and always wear a condom (seriously). But please, there's NOTHING wrong with you if you don't get freaky with as many people as possible. And for the record, there are tons of fun new experiences you can have with your significant other--you don't have to sleep with other people to have that.

    Posted by sabend February 6, 09 04:03 PM
  1. Here I am: The ‘Relationship in Crisis’ Voyeur. I come back every day to witness the horrors of others, gobble up Submitters’ advice and then offer my own kinked remedy. My bet is that we’re all so broken (and reassembled), we may be onto something. In 1982, at 23, I was still on Dead Tour. Great girlfriend of 5yrs was looking for commitment. I was just a baby. I let go. I wasn't ready. Sounds like you need to live and learn before you rot and burn.

    One man gone and another to go.
    My old buddy you’re movin’ much too slow.

    Posted by Wichita Jack February 6, 09 04:03 PM
  1. You sound like a nice guy who feels pushed into going faster than he wants. I think it is important to sort this out now and not wait until you're married with children to decide that you need to sow your wild oats.

    I don't think that lots of long term or short term relationships, hookups or one night stands are a necessary part of growing up and maturing. Sometimes the right one comes along early in your life and you know it. And some people manage to become intelligent caring adults without screwing half the planet. Maybe you're one of them. But, for some (probably most) people, the experience of being free and single for a while is an important one. The important thing is to figure out which kind of person you are.

    It sounds like there are at least three issues here - the first is that you just don't sound convinced she s the right one; two, you feel like you haven't had a chance to sow your wild oats and have that experience (highly overrated but...) and; third, you sound like you're a bit jealous that she has had that chance.

    It also sounds like you're more concerned about losing the chance to sleep around than about losing this woman. I think you need to sit yourself down and figure out which is more important to you right now. What's right for someone else isn't necessarily what's right for you; and what's right for you will change as you mature. Be honest with yourself. What matters more to you right now - this relationship or this opportunity. It's okay to feel it's too soon to settle down, but don't expect her to wait around while you do that.

    Posted by Nancy G February 6, 09 04:17 PM
  1. I am 36, got married three years ago and just had my first child a month ago. That's when it finally hit me. I had always thought that I should be done with one phase of life before I move on to the next, but that's just not how it works. I still would love to go out and drink and party, but that conflicts with being married and having a child. It's that I would prefer to be married to my wife and hang out with my son than party. So, FOMO, it's not that hooking up more will make the decision of marrying easier, it's about would you rather spend time with this woman than have more hook ups? Either choice is fine, but it is a choice that you make, and not one made easier with time.

    Posted by Matt February 6, 09 05:01 PM
  1. You have a good ten years before you should even think about it, you don't want to be miserable your whole life-do ya?

    Posted by oolong February 6, 09 05:12 PM
  1. Listen FFMO, we all mean well giving you advice from our perspective. What i would advise is this: why all the anguish? If right here and right now you simply want to move in with your long term girlfriend and she wants to too, just do it. Things don't always work out and that's okay. If it turns out it's not working, change plans. Just have an honest talk together beforehand about how you're really feeling, then go from there. It's that simple.

    Posted by Trish Sommeling February 6, 09 06:03 PM
  1. Honestly as a single 35 year old woman still waiting to meet a great guy, I feel bad for your gf..... BUT if you aren't sure, then don't let her move to Boston for you. Seriously... If you are worried at 23 that you've missed out on your fun young years, then what's going to happen if you stay with her and you turn 30 and look back to even MORE fun years lost??? It's sucks, but I think deep down, you know you want to break up with her. It's going to hurt, but I think if you re read your own letter, you'll see that deep down you are starting to feel trapped. And that's not good.

    Posted by Lisa February 6, 09 06:07 PM
  1. I'm not making judgments here, because most of us have had somewhat similar feelings, but this is jealousy, pure and simple. If she were a virgin, these issues would not be coming up. He is only afraid of missing out because she's more experienced: "Being older, she's had the opportunity to date, meet people and have relationships." We can only guess what "meet people" really means. This isn't about age, commitment fears, or anything else. It's not a question of right or wrong either. Just jealousy. My advice - move on, get some experience and more importantly, maturity. Good luck

    Posted by Jaime February 6, 09 06:09 PM
  1. All I can say is this: what I wanted (or thought I wanted) at 23 and what I came to realize I wanted in my life in my later twenties were completely different things. You have to have a time to have self discovery- away from the comforts of home and college life. You have to get to know yourself as an adult who has choices and questions that need to be answered. If you are not ready, you are not ready. Everyone has their own timetable... listen to your intuition on this one- and no one else. You'll hear the answer loud and clear. As a thirty year old woman, I know many friends who got married to someone in their early twenties and are now divorced and state "We were just too young." (Disclaimer: this doesn't mean all people who marry young will have regrets and divorce, but my opinion is that a fair amount do). This is the first time in your life when you will realize that some of your friends will be married at 23, some at 33, and that's OK. Just do what is right for you. And if that means breaking up with this girl, I promise that you are doing both of you a huge favor in the long run. And P.S. I don't think it sounds like you want to sleep around, you jst soudn confused. Don't listen to bitter women or men on here, listen to YOU. You wont' have any regrets if you do. Good luck.

    Posted by Kristin February 6, 09 07:00 PM
  1. There's always temptations in life. Either college hook ups or there's a hotter/prettier girl out there. It's a matter of decisions. If you know what you want, nothing else matters anymore. Don't feel obligated to commit to someone when you're not ready and don't feel you're missing out because of peer pressures. It's really what you want, you walk your path! You should have an open communication with this girl, there's a lot to learn about each other in a relationship!

    Posted by Justice February 7, 09 07:07 PM
  1. Ew. Why would you WANT awkward morning-afters?

    And I'll tell you something, more of the people I know who "sowed their oats" in college and had sex with a lot of people wished they hadn't when they met "the one" and got married. They wished they had saved more of themselves for their husband/wife. Just something to think about.

    Posted by AG February 8, 09 02:14 PM
  1. Honestly, to me it sounds like your most concerned with what SHE'S done in the past. Given the fact that you're 23 and are only in your second LTR, it doesn't sound like you're terribly interested in being the "hook-up" type (which is FINE, not everybody is). It sounds like you ONLY want to do it just to say you did, know what I mean? That's silly. I hope you don't end a good relationship just to follow some silly societal stereotype.

    What if you were BOTH 23? Would you feel the same urge to "hook up" if you knew she hadn't had a past like that, either? Or is this a "fairness" thing?

    Posted by Lins February 8, 09 04:00 PM
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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