Bye-Bye Boyfriend: How to Deal with Graduating at a Different Time than Your Boyfriend

If you follow pop culture at all, then you know how common it is to date someone who is not your age – Taylor & Jake, Ashton & Demi, Hayden & all of her boyfriends – ring a bell, anyone? But at the college level, it can present problems. Should you stay together after graduation? How will you make the relationship work despite the age difference? Here at Her Campus, we have the answers – read on for advice on what to do when your boyfriend is graduating first – or you are.
Here at Her Campus we believe that knowledge is power, which is why I am laying out what to expect when your boyfriend graduates before you, or vice-versa. Now you can start preparing for this new stage of your new relationship!
Strict Schedules
In this day and age, relationships typically revolve around a schedule of classes, work, extracurricular activities, partying, etc. For the average college student, many of these commitments can be ‘negotiated.’ Who hasn’t skipped class to lay out on a beautiful day? Once you leave college though, schedules become stricter, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to blow off a day of work for a romantic lunch for two. Be prepared for your boyfriend to be much busier than usual with his new career.


Less Partying
Since his schedule is going to be jam-packed, your boyfriend may lose interest in going out into the wee hours of the morning, or even staying up late to chat with you. He does have to get up early in the morning for a full day of work, after all. It is possible that he will even adopt a standard weekday bedtime, which may roll over into the weekend if he has extra work. Be prepared for your boyfriend to be less interested in late nights, parties and going out.
Maturity Level
Whether your boyfriend is the one graduating or you are, there will be differences in your maturity levels upon leaving college. College is a time when it is not only acceptable, but also practically required to act immaturely, forgo commitments and have fun without regard for the consequences. Upon entering the real world, however, things change. There will be added responsibilities, time commitments and work priorities. “My boyfriend graduated last year, and now he works from home in Boulder,” says Lauren, a sophomore at the University of Colorado – Boulder. “It is nice because he is more mature than most guys. He has more life experience.” Be prepared for your boyfriend to finally catch up to your maturity level – girls are often more mature than guys anyway – or for the difference to make itself known.


Upon graduation, your boyfriend will (hopefully) have a job to look forward to. In some cases, the job will require relocating, sometimes across the city, the state, or the country. No matter how far the distance, be prepared to spend less time together in-person and for long weekends, road trips, and the majority of communication to be via text, phone call, and Skype.

“Age is the vehicle by which we experience common milestones in life,” says Abraham Lloyd, a contributor to Marie Claire magazine. “These milestones give us the ability to relate to one another.” When one of you is in college and the other is not, you are at differing stages in life. What is important to you may not be important to him, and vice-versa. Be prepared for a change in priorities, on both of your parts, and for difficulty remembering what the two of you originally had in common.
Now that you know what to expect, we want to help you make it work with your boyfriend – if that is what you want, of course.