Pinings — Advice by Sherry Hughes

The Ultimatum

Dear Sherry,

Last year, I wanted to take a year off from work to finish my college degree. I donít have much work left, but after taking one or two classes at a time at night for 6 years, I really want to give it a final push and be done with it. My boyfriend, who I live with, was all for the idea. I didnít end up getting the financial help I had hoped for from the college I go to, so I decided against it. (I would have had to borrow a considerable amount of money for school, and then work 20 hours a week, at least, to make it work). I applied at two other schools, just on a whim. One school, about 2 hours away, offered me enough financial aid that I could go full-time and not have to work more than a few hours a week for spending money. I would live there, on campus, for the year. The program is specifically designed for nontraditional students who want to finish a bachelorís degree. Iím really excited about the opportunity. My boyfriend doesnít want me to go. For whatever reason, he is giving me an ultimatum about school. If I go, he will break up with me.

Sherry, we have a home together that weíve shared for 5 years. We have been through a tone of challenges Ö and weíve done really well together. I canít understand why heís being such a prick.

Iím so angry Ė and sad Ė and donít know what to do. Iíve never given him any reason to not trust me completely.

- Sierra

Dear Sierra,

It sounds like your boyfriend is threatened about you leaving, your scholastic pursuits, maybe your independence.

This sounds like an awesome opportunity, one that doesnít come around too often. Personally, I think you should tell him you are going, that you love him and hope to continue a relationship with him, but that you cannot allow him to stomp on your dreams.

If you arenít comfortable with that, consider the alternative: You may always regret not taking advantage of the opportunity. And it may take you a few more years to finish the degree. And will that make him happy?

Good luck.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers. Reach her at


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