Dear Miss Emily:

Okay...so I'm 20, and my girlfriend is 17 turning 18 real soon. We have been dating for like 3 years now.  Well she graduates this year and, after summer, she's moving with her best girlfriend to an apartment that's close to 2 hours away from where we are now.  She tells me she wants to learn how to be independent, and she doesn't really want me to follow her or anything 'cause she will just end up relying on me.  I asked her if she wants to break up ('cause most of the time girls say one thing but mean another) but she says she doesn't want to break up.  She wants to make this long distance thing work out and all that. How do I take this? Is this going to blow up in my face or what? Do I let her go, and support her and everything will work out? We have talked so many times about this, but she still says she wants to go and learn to be independent.  I just need some advice on how to take this, and what I should do?  Thanks.

--------------Miss Emily's advice-----------

I don't think you have any right to not let her go.  I know she's younger than you, but that doesn't imply ownership.  Perhaps she feels somewhat suffocated by the relationship, in that she has spent 3 years with you since she was fifteen. She's had little experience in the outside world (and you, for that matter), and the idea of being free to be on her own is enticing.  I know she says she doesn't want to break up but, that may, ultimately, be the result -- and you should be prepared for that.  Go along with the plan without laying a guilt trip, knowing that a lot can happen in the next few months.  In order to move into your own place, even with a friend, it takes a job and money.  Right now, it would be good if you can understand why she needs to spread her wings and let it play out to a conclusion.  It may not work in your favor, but you can't keep her grounded if she wants to fly.  It's tough, I know, but matters of the heart usually are. And remember this, people are usually more honest when they don't fear a backlash.  That's true for males, as well as females.