To break up or to stay together " that is the question |

To break up or to stay together " that is the question

Cassie Pence
Special to the DailyHigh school seniors Whitney Allard (BMHS) and Ben Rogers (EVHS) will attend Fort Lewis in the fall as a couple.

Some senior couples consider themselves Romeo and Juliet: They are in love forever or will die trying.

While others think of themselves more like travelers, who ” until now ” were on the same path, but alas have arrived at the fork in the road.

All senior boyfriend-and-girlfriends have to decide whether or not to break up or stay together when college begins this fall. It’s a tough situation.

Change and new experiences always are ” at first. And none of us, even the most cynical, can totally write off the chances of true love striking young, and there’s no doubt this thought flashes through the minds of these senior couples, making this particular relationship dilemma even more complex.

Seniors Ben Rogers and Whitney Allard have been dating for two years and seven months, and they will attend Fort Lewis in Durango this fall as a couple.

“We decided if by the end of high school we were still together, we would stay together,” Ben said.

Ben attends Eagle Valley High School and Whitney goes to Battle Mountain High School. The two met during cross country, a sport for which the two schools pool athletes. “We’ve just both been really happy,” Whitney said of their decision. “It would be hard not to be able to see each other anymore.”

Fort Lewis, Ben and Whitney said, was a good choice for them based on individual needs. Neither of them chose it just because the other was going to enroll there. “The school is set up well for our majors,” Ben said, who plans to study anthropology and history.

“We both wanted a school we could run at, that wasn’t too competitive,” Whitney said, who wants to go into physical therapy. “We both love the outdoors and Colorado. Fort Lewis was a good pick for both of us.” During the school selection process, however, friends, family and even the cross-country coach, Whitney said, were strongly suggesting to her that she and Ben should go to different universities.

“A lot of people said don’t go to college together,” Whitney said. “They would say, ‘You want to have other opportunities.’ It was hard not to listen, especially from my parents. I respect them a lot, and I’m glad when I really decided it was something I was going to do, they respected me as well.”

Seniors Josie Sutner and Riley Pack of Battle Mountain High School have been dating one year and six months. When fall arrives, they will head their separate ways ” Josie to Columbia University in New York and Pack to University of Colorado in Boulder for its aerospace engineering program.

“He’s as motivated and focused as I am, and both of us are going to be happy separately because we both have other things in life that make us happy,” Josie said. “We’re definitely going to remain friends and keep striving to reach our own goals.”

This new chapter in their lives, Josie said, is bittersweet. It’s hard to leave the familiar, but also very exciting to enter a completely different world.

“Of course it’s nerve racking, but the majority of the nerves don’t come from him,” Josie said, adding that she’s apprehensive about the change from mountains to city. “He’s always been my best friend, so I know I’m not going to lose him when I’m going to college.”

Neil Rosenthal, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Boulder, who deals with adults, suggests seniors should examine their motives before deciding whether or not to stay together or break up. “Am I trying to maintain this relationship because I feel so insecure.”

I need someone to hang on to, is that my motive?” Rosenthal said. “Or is it that I can’t stand not to be in his presence, and I do not want to lose him?”

Rosenthal acknowledged that accurately judging the way one feels is not always simple when you’re 17 or 18 years old. 40-year-olds have a hard enough time with it, he said. So what’s his advice to high school seniors? “If you allow it, there will be others,” Rosenthal said. “College has all sorts of kids your age, going to classes with you. And with pheromones and gender attraction being what it is, there will be all sorts of opportunities in the romance arena if you are alone. You needn’t worry if you give this opportunity up that you will never get another chance. There will be multiple other chances at love.”

Tell that to Romeo and Juliet.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at (970) 748-2938 or

Vail, Colorado

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