Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“How Can I Make My Boyfriend Start Acting Like an Adult?”

I’m 21 and have been dating my boyfriend, who turns 20 next month, for almost two years now. We’ve had a few difficulties with his parents accepting me, but mostly it seems pretty settled. There is a minor cultural distance between us — his family is devout Greek Orthodox, and, while I am a Catholic, I do not attend church regularly. This doesn’t go down well, and I have been invited to their church a couple of times but have refused to go.

Before we started going out, my boyfriend told me his mother asked, “In the event that you two get married, will she convert?” And if the answer was no, “there was no point” in beginning a relationship with me. He was 17 at the time and hadn’t even started dating yet.

Anyway, he asked me out and we’ve discussed this issue to some degree, and we are both happy with me staying Catholic. I am not asking him to give up his religion, so he won’t ask me to give up mine.

His parents are very strict. He still has to ask permission to go out, he has a very early curfew most of the time, and he often has to say “we can’t” go out. I end up spending most nights at his house until about 8:30 PM when his parents start making noises that it’s getting too late for me to be there.

Lately, we’ve been talking about engagement and marriage. I said I wanted to live with him before we got married. I want to know how he’s going to function away from parental supervision and in the adult world, but his mother has said that none of her children will be leaving the home before marriage. She said that if he and I were to be married tomorrow, she’d come and be the witness and we could live together then.

To this, my boyfriend just shrugs and says, “So, we’ll just get married and move in,” but my fear is that he hasn’t had time to be an adult and I don’t want him to become dependent on me in the same way he is currently dependent on his mother.

How do I get him to start being an adult when his family is trying so hard to keep him a child? How do I get HIM to confront his parents about giving him more responsibility and flexibility and freedom? — Still Dating a Kid

You don’t make someone become an adult. That’s just not possible. And the fact that you seem to think there us — that there’s, like, some magic action you can take or some perfect words you can say to make your 19-year-old boyfriend grow up faster only indicates that he isn’t the only one in your relationship who hasn’t had time to be an adult yet and shouldn’t be rushing into things like marriage or moving in together.

You know, sometimes we can really love someone for a certain period in our lives but we aren’t necessarily meant for each other. Or, we can love someone but take years before we’re ready to fully commit. I’d say you’re in either of those camps when it comes to your boyfriend. Maybe you two are at a point where you’re maturing at different speeds and growing in different directions. Maybe you’re ready to experience more of an adult reality while he is perfectly content nestled in the safety of Mom and Dad’s home. Or maybe he’s perfect for you but not as anything more than a boyfriend right now — a boyfriend who lives with his parents and abides by their rules because that’s what he’s comfortable with at the tender age of 19. If he’s not ready to spread his wings just yet, you have to accept that. And if you can’t, then it’s time to MOA.

And you know what might happen in you move on? You may find that being a young, single adult is pretty fun, especially when you no longer have to deal with uptight boyfriend’s parents who give unreasonable curfews and want you to convert to their religion. Honestly, at your age and with all the life you still have ahead of you, you’d probably be better off if you kiss this ship and all its baggage good-bye. You talk about your fear of marrying your boyfriend without him first experiencing being an adult on his own, but couldn’t the same be said for you? You were 19 when you started dating. Don’t you kind of want to see what it’s like being a single adult before you commit to one person forever?

If I were you, I’d slow the brakes on this relationship and date around a little bit while your boyfriend figures out what his plan is. If you know you have no interest in marrying a “man” (boy, really) who has never lived outside his parents’ home, and your boyfriend decided he’s never moving out until he gets hitched, then it’ll be time to move on. It’s pretty cut and dry, really. The hard part is simply accepting what you already know.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

249 comments… add one
  • avatar

    artsygirl August 15, 2013, 9:01 am

    I didn’t read the letter but my immediate response is you can’t

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    • avatar

      artsygirl August 15, 2013, 9:04 am

      Ok read letter – while you might feel strongly about living together, spending more time together, independence from parents, etc – it is apparent those are not priorities for your BF. As long as he lives under their roof, which he does willingly according to your letter, then you have to follow their dictates.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary August 15, 2013, 9:08 am

    WWS, but I’ll add that you are both SO young. Even though you’re 21 and legally an adult it doesn’t mean that you’ve experienced everything adult life has to offer or that you’re ready to get married. Like Wendy said, you’ve spent a lot of your adult life with this guy so you barely know what it’s like to be an adult yet either. I think you both need some time apart. But please, for the love of god, do not get married yet. Neither of you is ready.

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  • avatar

    bethany August 15, 2013, 9:09 am

    This:
    “You know, sometimes we can really love someone for a certain period in our lives but we aren’t necessarily meant for each other. Or, we can love someone but take years before we’re ready to fully commit.”

    Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to marry them. Enjoy this time for what it is. He’s your first love. That’s special and fun.

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  • avatar

    Bunnycsp August 15, 2013, 9:10 am

    LW, you can’t make him want something. He has to want it. Honestly, there is no way his parents are going to be ok with the religion thing. They might not say it now but if you really move close to marriage, get ready for a war.

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  • KKZ

    KKZ August 15, 2013, 9:13 am

    He’s been living under his parents roof and rules for 19 years. You’ve been dating for two. Is it that hard to see who’s going to have the most influence over him?

    Consider this: You marry him, you marry his family. They’ll be part of your lives forever and you’re likely to never hear the end of the “conversion” speech, OR be able to escape them exerting their power over him. And something tells me that were a divorce to happen, that would be nothing but drama for this Orthodox family too.

    If you’d like to keep dating, my advice would be to not get overly invested in the “spending time together” bit of it – find other hobbies and activities that keep you busy and active so you’re not just sitting home moping when he “can’t” go out with you. Come into your own a little and spend some time getting to know yourself as an adult and an individual rather than seeing things through the girlfriend lens. That alone might give you greater insight into whether this relationship is what you want for yourself for the long term.

    But please, please, please don’t get married just so you have his mother’s blessing to move in together. That’s the most backwards way to go about it and I can’t see it turning out well for either of you.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay August 15, 2013, 9:26 am

    You can’t make your boyfriend become an adult. You seem to think that he’s just passively accepting his family’s influence, and maybe he is, but there are plenty of people with overbearing parents who make their own choices. Your boyfriend is apparently CHOOSING to let his family dictate his life and CHOOSING to stay essentially a child. Don’t mistake what he’s doing for brainwashing or him doing nothing. And that’s a decision you’re going to have to make — are you OK with being with somebody who prefers to let their family make all their decisions?

    Don’t marry him now. Obviously, some people disagree on whether living together is essential before marriage, but what IS essential is knowing what he is like as an adult, and so far, you don’t know that. And honestly, there’s no guarantee you will ever find out. Sure, you could get married and move in together, but the chances of him becoming a different person are slim. You’d be basing your decision on assuming he’d suddenly become super independent and mature, and as Wendy has said many times, don’t marry someone under the assumption that they might possibly change in the future.

    And also like Wendy said, you’re not fully an adult. You are stuck in what is essentially this high-school relationship, with no knowledge of what it’s like to date someone as an adult. Enjoy this relationship if you’d like, but you guys have seemed to demonstrate that you have completely different values.

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  • katie

    katie August 15, 2013, 9:42 am

    oh god please dont marry this guy and convert to his religion. at LEAST not yet.

    i completely agree that you should marry someone who is what i like to call a “whole person”. that is, they are an adult, have lived as an adult, have a good amount of adult experiences under their belt, understand the world and its mechanics pretty well, have a clear vision of themselves and the relationship they want, ect. i think all those things are necessary to being a good partner in marriage. it seems like you do to, and so if this guy is not that, you need to move on. because wendy is right- just the fact that you ask if/when/how to MAKE him be what you want him to be indicates your own inexperience and immaturity. you cant, and you shouldnt anyway, MAKE someone into what you want them to be. you need to find someone who is already what you want, or at least pretty damn close.

    in addition, for this guy and this relationship specifically, think about boundaries and how you would want a partner to navigate them. i can already see it now that this guy’s parents will meddle in your relationship. that is the way it is in many different cultures and sects of religions, if it works for people thats fine, but if it doesnt, you have to have a partner who is willing and able to set those boundaries and stick to them. i cannot tell you how amazing it sounded for my own partner to tell me, as we were discussing how his mother oversteps her boundaries in his brother and SIL’s relationship, that he was adamant that he would never allow his mother to do the same things to me and our relationship. that is amazing. that is what i need in a partner.

    i think you have some serious thinking to do, and some serious growing up to do. love is not enough, and there are so many more factors that go into a successful partnership. many other factors that it doesnt seem that either of you have in this situation.

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  • theattack

    theattack August 15, 2013, 9:43 am

    Love isn’t enough.

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    • theattack

      theattack August 15, 2013, 9:51 am

      To add a little more, it’s possible that you guys are right for each other. But if you want to make a smart decision, wait at least a few years on committing to forever. Wait until you both come into who you are as adults a little more. Time will give him a chance to make a more informed decision about how and if he wants to set boundaries with his parents. Either way, his parents will likely always be deeply involved in your lives, even if you’re married and on your own for twenty years.

      Getting married now will in no way fix any of your problems. You should only get married when everything in your relationship is running smoothly. It doesn’t work as a tool to make things run more smoothly, because if he can’t or won’t set boundaries with his parents now, he won’t do it later either. Make sure that he is who you need him to be before committing to him. Remember that you’re marrying into a family.

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    • theattack

      theattack August 15, 2013, 9:52 am

      AND, why won’t you go to church with his family? It doesn’t mean you have to convert, but it would go a long way for showing them that you respect their religious beliefs.

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 10:09 am

        I have no problems with their beliefs. But I have my own church, my own religion, my own beliefs. They have a way of shoving their own religion into the forefront.

        The other reason is they go to a church that speaks Greek. I cannot see any religious benefits (which is what his family is concerned about) for me when I cannot understand a word and Boyfriend doesn’t understand some of it so I can’t even get accurate translations.

        The third and last reason is, his Mother tends to use religion as a control. I’m nervous that if I attend once, she will feel she has the same amount of control.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 11:35 am

        1) Going to church with his family doesn’t take away from your own religion, especially when you’re not using that time to attend your own church.

        2) There might not be a religious benefit to you, because it’s not your religion anyway, but there would be a huge benefit in the relationship with his parents, which is important whether you want to believe it or not.

        3) Then don’t let her control you. Give a little bit and then draw the line. That’s a crucial adult skill you need to learn.

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      • MackenzieLee

        MackenzieLee August 15, 2013, 8:33 pm

        The fact that you won’t go to church with him to appease him/his mom speaks a lot a out your maturity level. You could easily use the time for reflection on your life etc without understanding a word of it. Maybe I’m a horrible Christian, but I spend most of my time in church thinking and pondering my life not hanging on every word the priest says.

        I’m was raised catholic, but I’m not anymore. I actually vehemently dislike many parts of the religion. But when my grandfather comes to town and asks me if I want to go to mass with him, I do it because I know how much the gesture means to him. You don’t have to participate if you go. If you honestly can’t sacrifice an hour (or three) for your boyfriend you can’t get married. I’m sure all the married people on here could tell you how many hours they’ve spent doing things they didn’t like or didn’t understand for their SO. I know I’ve spent many hours watching top gear (which might as well be in Greek for me) because my boyfriend at the time liked cars and it made him happy.

        Also I just remembered I went to a Greek Orthodox mass when I was about 13 because it is my cousins’ religion and boy the bread they had was really good. You should go just for the bread. And if a 13 year old with a 13 year old’s short attention span can sit through a mass in another language so can you

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 10:13 am

        i have a feeling that this family would never be happy until actual conversion and then deep immersion in their church, so i wonder if her going to church would just be like a giving a mouse a cookie situation… “well, you already are here each week, why dont you just convert?”

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 10:17 am

        Maybe so, but she can just draw the line when she gets there. Going every week might cause a problem, but going a few times shouldn’t be a problem. I suspect that the bf’s parents feel disrespected by her, and really they are.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 10:23 am

        i dont disagree, i think its always neat to attend new things and learn things about people that i care about.

        i just dont think the solution is “just go to church sometimes”. the core issue is still there, you know?

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 10:28 am

        Definitely agreed! She should in no way come across like she’s giving in, and this won’t fix any of the major problems she sees. It would only help a smidgeon in having a better relationship with his parents, and nothing else.

        She needs to find a balance between setting boundaries and being kind, respectful, and involved. She can be the better person here, but I think she’s so young and caught up in trying to win that she’s overlooking some other factors here.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 10:39 am

        yea, i mean, there are no “winners” in these situations. there are also really no “losers”, either, so that is nice.

        there is only good, functional relationships and not-good, not-functional relationships.

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 10:41 am

        I’m not sure you can make that call Theattack. Young? Yes. Immature? Sometimes. Trying to win? Not necessarily- I want a proper relationship. I’m not trying to “win one” over the olds, I’m trying to keep my relationship intact for the long run. You might think me a silly nitwit because you’ve read a letter I wrote and have made your own assumptions, but trying to win is not the idea. I don’t want to go to his church, so I don’t go- there are underlying issues associated but I don’t want to go. The only think I want to win is a little more freedom so he and I can learn from each other, about each other- but I wouldn’t call that trying to win something, after all my relationship is not a game.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 11:45 am

        I have no doubt that you want your relationship to work out. If you aren’t out to “win” then you should give in a little bit to the life he has chosen, which means giving in to his parents a bit. It sounds like you are in a tug of war with his culture and his parents. The fact is that he has chosen this path for himself, and if you can’t accept it without trying to change it, you’ll have to move on.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 12:20 pm

        You can’t win freedom from his parents. He has to make the choice, or he doesn’t. Unfortunately that part is completely up to him. If he chooses not to do as he pleases, that’s a problem with him – not his parents. And really it’s not a problem at all. It’s just that you two have different values and want different things for your lives.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM August 15, 2013, 11:22 am

        Yeah but there’s something about how she has “refused” that irks me, that wording. She wants to marry this guy, she knows religion and culture are VERY important to his family, and yet she “refuses” to ever attend church with them. Like not even for Christmas. What the Actual Fuck. I’m trying to figure out what about this guy she thinks she wants. Most guys I know from conservative and religious families are relatively casual about it while young but get serious about it when it’s time for a wedding. I think if her boyfriend is fine with staying home until marriage, this shows his religion is more important to him than she realizes. And yes she “refuses” to attend church with him? It’s like she’s trying to fit him into her “Husband Mold” and is really ignoring the dude does not fit.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 11:29 am

        well, like i said though, her refusal might just be because she knows it will make the problem WORSE, a la give a mouse a cookie, where the parents would then just pester her more and worse about conversion because shes already at their church anyway.

        and, maybe refusal was just a bad word choice.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 11:30 am

        Absolutely. The fact that she “refuses” suggests that she doesn’t even accept him as he is. It extends far beyond her own belief system.

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 11:37 am

        Refuse was a bad word choice. Right now, I’m not going to go to church with him. In the future if we get as serious as he’s taking about of course I’ll go to church with him. I’ll do the fasting and ill do the traditions. But right now, no. I may not regularly go to my own church but my religion is my religion and I believe just as strongly as he does. I am not asking him to come pray with me at my church and he doesn’t ask me to come pray at his.

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      • avatar

        Matcha August 15, 2013, 1:07 pm

        To be fair, at 21 I was spending Christmas mass with my family and they wouldn’t have thought it acceptable just because my boyfriend’s family wants me to go.

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 10:26 am

        I don’t feel like they’re being disrespected. I never say “that’s the worst idea ever” I always just politely say no. And to be accurate, Boyfriend is the one usually saying no first.

        I don’t like to be rude to people, I also get uncomfortable in setting up false ideas. Unfortunately going to church with then once will mean disrespecting them when I go on to say “not this week”.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 11:42 am

        “Unfortunately going to church with then once will mean disrespecting them when I go on to say ‘not this week’.”

        Like I said above, you need to learn how to balance boundaries and involvement. It’s not disrespectful to draw your own boundary or to say “no” sometimes but not others. That’s completely allowed, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is just whining because they didn’t get their way. Which brings me back to the point that your boyfriend’s parents are here for the long haul. If you can’t find ways to balance involvement in his family and boundaries for yourself, this relationship will not work for the long term. When you date or marry someone, you are essentially in a relationship with his family too. You have to decide how much you’re capable of and willing to put up with.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. August 15, 2013, 12:45 pm

        I can kind of relate to this. One side of my family is devout Catholic and the other is fundamentalist Baptist. I am neither. I respect their right to believe differently from me, but that respect is not mutual. There is no atmosphere of acceptance of my beliefs at all, and therefore, I do not attend any services in either church, unless it is a very special occasion, like my brother’s wedding. During the entire time I was there, I had to listen to my beliefs being trashed and myself being equated to a devil worshipper. This is not respectful and I do not feel I have to put up with it. On the other hand, I have many Jewish friends who routinely invite me to attend functions, public and private, and I go if I can because I enjoy the feeling of community and being included as a member of their circle even though I do not practice that faith. There is also no fallout I if I decline, and no pressure to convert. There is only mutual acceptance and respect. So, the attitude of the family can make a huge difference. I would have a hard time being with someone who expected me to change my beliefs and for that reason, I think it might be best for the LW to MOA. There doesn’t seem to be any room for compromise here.

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      • avatar

        Matcha August 15, 2013, 1:11 pm

        Same. Plus, I was thinking – she’s hanging out with his family every day. Where’s her family? I’m assuming since they’re in college together now that he’s local and she’s not. Once you move, start your first big job, etc, a lot of these arguments will go away naturally because of the distance. (Although I still get picture texts from relatives of a church with the caption, “Carpe Diem!!”)

        If she didn’t see his mother every day, then I could understand going to the occasional mass. It seems like she’s overbearing and frankly, I wouldn’t want to deal with her. But at the end of the day, if you go to Greek Orthodox masses and then don’t convert she can’t do anything about it.

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  • avatar

    Steeze August 15, 2013, 9:51 am

    Alright, first off, like Wendy said, you have so much too experience before you will be ready to marry and settle down.

    I wanted to comment because, I’m Greek Orthodox and my husband is Catholic and I can completely understand your situation. The thing is, on our first date I basically laid it all out there: I want to get married, I want to raise my kids in this religion, you don’t need to convert but it would be nice if you came along to church. My parents are pretty open though but I really wanted these things and knew there was ‘no point’ if I couldn’t have them. Your boyfriend’s parents sound pretty standard in my experience. A lot of people don’t move out until marriage. As was the case with my siblings. However, I was a big rebel and moved in with my husband once we were engaged so I got to experience living together before signing any legally binding documents. Ha.

    Your boyfriend is pretty young though and he might not even know what he wants for his future life and really, that’s very normal and you are both totally rushing things. Look, if I were in your place I would want to experience a little bit of a free life before tying myself forever to one man and his family. Think about what you want for the coming years and go with that. You can’t make the boyfriend grow up, you can control though what experiences you have and maybe if he wants to, he can join along with you.

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    • Copa

      Copa August 15, 2013, 10:54 am

      I’m glad you commented! One of my best friends is Greek Orthodox, and while her family isn’t over-the-top religious and doesn’t seem to care if she marries outside of her culture or religion, one of the expectations they have is that she (and her siblings) live at home until she’s married. It seemed (to me) like a cultural thing rather than something solely grounded in religion. I almost wondered if LW completely missed that he’s not necessarily refusing to become an adult — he was raised in a different family with different cultural norms.

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 11:21 am

        I haven’t missed that. How could I possibly? I admit its hard to get a grasp of at times.

        I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not against (when/if the time comes) living together after marriage- but at the same time how am I supposed to get a feeling for ‘WHO’ I’m going to be promising my life to when we are so restricted? I don’t pretend to know this would be a lot easier if I shared the culture, though he has friends who are the same culture and religion and they have issues with seeing him for good quality time.

        So while I appreciate the culture is different- it’s partly them as well. And his Mother has told me stories of her wild mini-skirt, Aussie rock band photography gig days so I know that’s not how she was raised either.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 15, 2013, 12:04 pm

        OK. Well, assuming this is all true, why are you still wasting your time? If you don’t feel like you’re getting to know who you’re going to be promising your life to, and you feel like it’s because of something he isn’t doing, what are you doing? You can’t change his family. You can’t change him. You can’t make him do anything. If you want something out a relationship and your partner is not deliver, move on. Find what you want & someone better suited. Can you even imagine how shitty it will feel 1, 2, 3 years down the road when nothing has changed? It’s your life & your future. Stop making excuses for his behavior and go get what YOU want out of YOUR life.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 12:10 pm

        yes.

        you have a certain set of parameters you want met before you commit to marriage- thats great. but, this guy is not giving you that set of parameters, and furthermore doesnt even seem to want to entertain doing so. i mean, thats your answer. you want x, he wont give it to you, you MOA. *especially* when you are talking about serious issues like extended family involvement, marriage, ect.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 15, 2013, 5:04 pm

        Hear hear! My thoughts exactly. If it’s really important to you to know someone on the living-together level before marrying… that’s not gonna be this guy. It’s up to you to decide if that’s a dealbreaker or not, and if it is, that’s your right. you’re not being unfair or anything. Too many relationships, I think, try to force square pegs into round holes for the sake of staying together and it just ain’t worth it.

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    Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 9:58 am

    So I probably should have mentioned that I’m not planning on running down the aisle any time soon. My main point was to say he is getting serious about our relationship but its not translating into actions.

    I feel a little like I have to defend myself, or my relationship. Me first, I know I am only young but I moved into the adult world at 18 (legally adult in Australia), I got myself a full time job as a legal secretary, pay for everything I need and got myself some bills. While I understand that alone doesn’t make me an adult, I also can’t put into worlds exactly what I’m thinking. I look after myself, I pretty much rely solely on myself and I do the best I can. I am not irresponsible, nor am I hasty in my actions. I also don’t necessarily mope around when we can’t go out- I study full time and do have a social life outside of him, though I know that on occasion (especially if I’ve been looking forward to it) I do mope around.

    Boyfriend- he’s the kindest person I know, he’s not my first love as someone suggested. This is something different all together. He is special, he makes me feel like the most worthwhile, beautiful and wonderful person. He sets me free. While I know I can’t dictate how my future goes, I look at him and I see our future. In saying that, he is caged. Yes he chooses not to do things, but it’s more than that. The extent of trouble he gets in is extreme. He still sometimes gets physically punished and he often gets yelled at until he gives up arguing and trying. I know his family has more influence, thank you for that bit of wisdom, I’m not quite as hopeless as I apparently came across, I know this. His family, his religion will always be important to him, I admire this.

    The one thing he has always said to me regarding his religion is that he does not want me to be part of it. He does not want me to change who I am just because he or his family asks.

    As for marriage. I’m not ready. We talk about it. I never said we were planning on it- this was to point out the hypocrisy of his mother’s acceptance of me as wife and to give her son the responsibility of marriage but cannot give her son the responsibility to go out with out issue, or to allow him to have access to his own bank account that was set up for him when he got his first job.

    Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate that you took the time to read and respond to my query. I will definitely keep it mind while trying to figure out what to do, but I can’t let this relationship go right now- this is too important to me. Who knows? Maybe in a months or year or ten years time ill be writing back saying “Dear Wendy, you were right”.

    And ps. To whoever said Divorce won’t go down well with his family- I’m catholic, pretty sure you can get excommunicated for getting divorced. It won’t go down well with me or mine either 😉

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    • Copa

      Copa August 15, 2013, 11:34 am

      If he SAYS he is serious about you, but his actions repeatedly don’t reflect what he’s saying, then no, he’s not as serious about you as he says he is.

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      • avatar

        oldie August 15, 2013, 12:10 pm

        There’s a difference between serious and ready for marriage, as LW has said about herself. LW does not accept that bf comes from a different culture than she does and that what she sees as normal steps into adulthood are not normal for bf or his family. His family tradition is to move from his parents home into marriage. Going along with that family value does not say he is immature, it says that LW and bf’s family have different values. While bf’s family’s values are certainly different from mine, I have known many, many ethnic families who have shared the same view as bf’s family, although the strictures applied much more to the girls in the family.

        A lot of girls mature faster emotionally and in distancing themselves from parental views than boys of the same age. That LW has been essentially independent since 18 likely makes her much more mature than her 1+ year younger boyfriend. That’s really not on him. He is what he is and he doesn’t strike me as unduly immature for a 19 year old. If LW is seeking maturity, then she shouldn’t be dating a 19-year old who is living at home with his parents. Her bf seems to be doing a fine job of distancing himself from some of his parents’ requirements for his future wife and life. He just isn’t willing to move out of the home yet. Likely he thinks this would cause a permanent break with his parents and a life-long battle for acceptance of you as his new wife. He isn’t willing to break with his parents. LW says that bf has a job, but not whether he earns enough to be financially independent. This might be another reason that he doesn’t want to just leave home.

        If LW wants to marry this guy, she is going to have to play by his family’s rules, as long as bf wants to remain at home. Pushing harder isn’t going to change anything. It will only increase friction with his family and make his life less happy, perhaps to the point where he no longer wants to be your bf. You seem to be forcing the issue on the assumption that he will choose you over his parents. Since he has shown no signs of leaning that way, that is a big gamble.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 15, 2013, 12:16 pm

        I actually pointed out the cultural differences here thinking maybe LW didn’t realize that Greeks tend to live at home until marriage, and LW responded to me saying that I’m wrong on that point. SO, this was my next assumption.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 12:24 pm

        well, i think that they might both be “serious” about each other- but that means different things for them. he thinks, “ok, we are serious, lets get married so i can move out of my house and with you”, she thinks “ok, we are serious, lets move in together, spend a lot more time together, figure each other out more so that we can eventually make the choice to get married”

        i really dont think you can reconcile those two thoughts, though. i think the easier one to “give” would be him, though- like someone else said here, people with overbearing parents end up making their own decisions all the time.

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 12:24 pm

        Cultural differences are something I cannot ignore when they abundant and they are out in the open- they don’t keep it a secret.

        The issue isn’t differences in what we want- in fact, if anything he’s the one saying “let’s get married” and im the one saying “maybe in a year or two”.

        He has a job, it’s not a good one, no he isn’t financially independent right now- but that’s because he doesn’t have access to his own bank account. As for moving in- I didn’t say it was happening tomorrow or that it needed to happen tomorrow. I was merely voicing concern as to what might happen in the event we move in at some point.

        My concern is that without room to be an adult he cannot become one. In the event we get married I’m concerned ill be marrying a dependent and not an equal.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 12:30 pm

        “The issue isn’t differences in what we want- in fact, if anything he’s the one saying “let’s get married” and im the one saying “maybe in a year or two”. ”

        Doesn’t that sound like a difference in what you want? It certainly does to me. It also sounds like he wants to give his parents a very strong position of power in his life, and you do not want that. His life will be intricately tied with yours if you marry. How do you think that will affect you?

        And yes, in the event that you find a solution and decide that you want to overlook these major differences, you will be marrying someone who 1) hasn’t had a chance to fully come into himself yet; 2) won’t have very many real life skills for handling independence; and 3) might (but not necessarily) feel the need to go crazy once he finally has independence. Assuming that he does want to skip a wild stage and go straight into responsible adult mode, you will likely have to teach him how to do that. And it makes for uncomfortable relationship dynamics to have to teach an SO how to be an adult.

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        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 12:46 pm

        And now you know why I want to wait.

        I wouldn’t call it a difference- at some point it would be nice to marry him, not now, not while we’re not financially stable as a couple. There’s a couple of things that need to be thought through before anything marriage related (other than talking about it) happens.

        So not a difference just a time delay. This man is the most important person to me, but even I know rushing into Something permanent could lead to disaster

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 12:55 pm

        But what about the difference in how involved his parents will be later? What will happen when they try to tell you how to parent your child, or his mom insists on coming to live with you when a baby is young? Or they try to tell you how to spend your money? Or they try to dictate the activities you can and can’t do as grown-ass married adults? Will your boyfriend stand up to them and draw a boundary? He’s never done that before.

        The most important difference isn’t the timeline. It’s the substance. If he won’t claim independence now (he doesn’t even have access to his own bank account…..WHAT?!?!?!), you absolutely cannot think that he’ll do that in the future, can you? Honestly at this point this sounds like pretty straightforward incompatibility for a long term relationship. If he changes over time and creates a life for himself without his parents, there might be some hope.

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        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 1:06 pm

        I honestly don’t know what to say. Logically I know and understand that there’s a strong likelihood for relationship failure, but I cannot lose hope right now. I mean it’s 3am and I’m sitting here talking to a bunch of strangers who are either ridiculing my religious beliefs, implying I’m a ninny who’s pushing for something that is apparently not two sided, telling me I have to grow up and just being plain rude (majority wise), trying to get some advice on how to push aside the parental wing.

        I’ll be keeping some advice you’ve said, throwing some out and storing some away hoping to never have need of it.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 15, 2013, 1:52 pm

        Actually, we’ve answered the question you asked: You can’t change your boyfriend or his priorities. The curfew thing doesn’t seem weird to me. I can understand wanting to respect your parents’ house rules. But someone who doesn’t have accses to HIS OWN MONEY at 19? WTF? That’s weird. He’s passive at best, immature or lazy or scared of his parents at worst. WHY he is how he is really doesn’t matter, though. What matters is that he is how he is, and it’s not YOUR job to fix him or tell him what to do. You do not get to dictate his timeline for reaching whatever it is your standards of adulthood are.

        You also cannot waltz into someone’s life hoping to change the family dynamics by taking it upon yourself to “push aside the parental wing”. Seriously, if he went into your parents’ home and tried to change how your family unit interacts — say he started nagging you to ask your parents for financial help since he gets financial help from his — you wouldn’t find that at least a little obnoxious and rude? Quite frankly, how he and his family isn’t any of your business.

        The one and only thing you have control over is you. Butt out of his family affairs and accept him for who he & how he is now, or MOA.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 5:57 pm

        I mean, if you honestly think that there is a magical combination of words you can say to either your boyfriend or his family to lose the “parental wing” or whatever you said earlier, and then after that your relationship will be fine and his parents will stop doing what they do now, then you need some more experience in the real world and to grow up a little more because that will not ever happen and furthermore you should not try to make it happen. Changing someone, not letting someone change themselves, is actually the exact same sin that his parents are committing, and is not the way respectable adults treat one another.

        I think that you do know deep down that this will never work, but you are too much in love to give those thoughts any merit and that is why you react so strongly to people who say it. But, we are all here to tell you that this is not the only guy in the world for you (read Wendy’s second column today, actually, it’s wonderful), and you will still be able to do the things that you want to with your life, and you might even get to start that soon, if you leave this guy and stop trying to force something that he isn’t willing to make happen.

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        Matcha August 15, 2013, 1:15 pm

        Yeah. It sounds to me as though he’s happy with his parents. I mean, if the culture is for parents to be very involved, it would be out of the norm to deviate from that.

        Re: bank account. He could just open a secret one by himself and his parents would never know (unless they realized he was direct depositing his money elsewhere.) I did that maybe my sophomore year of college because I didn’t want a joint account with my parents. When I broke the news to my mother, she cried and hung up on me.

        Growing pains.

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        oldie August 15, 2013, 4:38 pm

        No, it’s not just a time delay. It’s a very big difference, because you are insisting on certain things happening during that time delay, which your bf and his family don’t view as appropriate. You and he both want to marry at some future time, but you are insisting that he needs to, at a minimum, move out of his parents house and demonstrate his independence first. That’s not a part of his plan. Not now. Not a year from now. Likely not ever. He intends to move from his parents home to the home he shares with his wife, to whom he is married before he moves. His family would view anything else as improper, crossing into immoral. I don’t know if you and bf are actually having sex at this point, but a lot of his parents’ rules and restrictions seem aimed at preventing any chance of that happening prior to marriage. If you are actually having sex, and his parents find out, you will be the harlot they tell their son to avoid under pain of losing his immortal soul and the respect of his family and community. Yes, that’s unrealistic thinking in today’s world, but I’m quite sure that is what his parents are thinking. Parents believe what they have to believe and are fully capable of convincing themselves that sex can’t possibly occur before 8:30.

        If you see this issue as merely a time delay, then you have your head in the sand up to your boobs.

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        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 6:24 pm

        Actually, you seem to think boyfriend is happy to go along for the ride. He’s not. He doesn’t want to be home early all the time (with me or any other person he’s going out with), he doesn’t want to abide by so many rules all the time.

        Since writing this letter, I’ve come to the conclusion that living together is not the priority here- truthfully never was, getting some assurance that I’d be marrying an equal is the priority.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 15, 2013, 6:34 pm

        What makes you think he’s not happy to go along for the ride?

        “…his mother has said that none of her children will be leaving the home before marriage”

        “To this, my boyfriend just shrugs and says, ‘So, we’ll just get married and move in'”

        He’s willing to take the step of MARRIAGE—just like his mother wants—in order to avoid standing up for himself. That is someone who’s quite content with things. If he wasn’t, then he would simply move out.

        Also, your last paragraph doesn’t make much sense. You’re backtracking. You ~realize~ that moving in together (or maybe even just convincing him to move out on his own?) is a necessary step for him to gain independence, & thus assure you you’re with an equal. They’re not two separate things, like you’re trying to make them be now.

        I mean, sorry, I’m honestly not trying to be harsh or aggressive. It just, from reading all your comments & updates, seems like you’re willingly blinding yourself?

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        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 6:42 pm

        Why can’t they be separate? Plenty of young adults have the freedom to be adults while living at home.

        He’s scared of standing up to himself and yes, it is a LOT easier for everyone involved if he stops trying- but he does try to get more responsibility his trying pretty much always gets thwarted.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 15, 2013, 6:45 pm

        Yes, For the record, both I & my boyfriend live at home, still. But your boyfriend seemingly ~can’t~ get the freedoms that accompany being an adult while staying with his parents, right? (He doesn’t have a bank account, etc.) So, that’s why I said the two aren’t separate.

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      • katie

        Katie August 15, 2013, 8:18 pm

        You want to marry someone who can’t stand up for himself? Really? After all that you have written to Wendy and updated here about independence, marrying as equals, getting to know someone better before marriage- this isn’t an issue to you? Honestly, at that point, it doesn’t matter what the details are. It doesn’t matter if its his parents or his boss or coworkers or the kid who sits next to him in homeroom. He can’t and won’t take steps to stand up for himself. That’s a huge issue.

        You are definitely back pedaling and making excuses.

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      • Cassie

        CassieB August 17, 2013, 6:37 pm

        How hard is it, at almost 20, for him to say, “You know what? I’m legally an adult. And as such, I want to have access to my own bank account. So, here bank, here’s my information and let’s set up a new account. And here work place, here’s the new account where you can direct my income. Thanks very much to all who participated in this endeavor.”

        Yeah he may ‘want to get married’ sometime soon, but he’s nowhere near ready for marriage.

        I’ve had many friends who have had very involved, controlling parents. And yes there may not be room for him to grow up, but that’s also the choice he’s making. In the case of these friends, most decided it was time to grow up and took it upon themselves even though it made family ties a bit tense. Some are still stuck in adolescent mode. However, even if it looks a bit different culturally, he should still be taking steps to establish himself as an adult. The fact that he isn’t says that he’s still immature and that you two are in different places in life.

        And don’t brush off the advice of others about “when you marry the guy, you’re marrying the family.” It’s accurate advice, especially if you live close enough to interact with the family on a regular basis.

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    • avatar

      Grilledcheesecalliope August 15, 2013, 11:41 am

      So his parents sound beastly, he’ll get sick of it soon enough. Just focus on you until then. Maybe subtly alert his mother that noone wants babies with someone who hasn’t shown responsibility or independence.

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    • avatar

      Bunnycsp August 15, 2013, 12:28 pm

      LW, I think you more than anyone realize that you can leave at 19, get a job and live on your own successfully if you want to. He is not motivated enough to do it and there is your answer. He must be getting something out of staying at home. Maybe his parents yell but do they also pay all his bills, do all his laundry, cook all his meals? If it was me, every time he complained or blamed them for something, I would respond, “It is your fault for putting up with it and not moving out.” don’t let him blame his parents. put the responsibility squarely on his shoulders. Don’t let him cop out and say “they are so mean” or “they won’t let me”.

      My husband will blame his mother for things and I don’t let him anymore. I tell him that he is the one that won’t stand up to her so it is his fault. He might not stand up all the time but he does have to take responsibility for his actions.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl August 15, 2013, 1:00 pm

      LW, you are extremely argumentative and unwilling to listen to any advice that doesn’t back your own viewpoint. I’d say you need to do some growing up yourself. I’m not trying to be harsh or mean, I’m just telling you that you are nowhere near as mature as you think you are.

      You can’t change him, you can’t make him grow up and to think that you can shows that you have a lot to learn about human nature. The only person you have control over is yourself. You can either continually try and put a square peg in a round hole or you can step back and determine if the relationship is truly what you want and if it is, then you need to do the adjusting, not him.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ August 15, 2013, 5:27 pm

      Couldn’t help noticing some call-outs to my comment in your response.

      The first point, about influence – We get a lot of young LWs on here who still have the blinders of youth on and don’t immediately recognize that their relationship doesn’t always carry the same weight with others that it does in their heart. Maybe unfair of me to assume you were one of those LWs, but better to tell you something you *might* not know then assume you know it all. That wasn’t meant to be a “God, LW, are you an idiot?” kind of comment and I’m surprised you took it that way.

      I forgot the detail that you were Catholic when I wrote my comment. Divorce was just the next thing in my train of thought of “you’re going to have to deal with his family being overbearing if you stay together.” Influenced by my doubts that this relationship is sustainable for both of you. DOUBTS. Not conviction. That’s not my call to make, ultimately.

      The moping – again, this is something common to young LWs, the “Why Won’t He Call?” syndrome where they’re so wrapped up in their relationship and so in lurrrrve (and I use that term endearingly, not mockingly – the in lurrrrve phase is cute) that they cease having their own life and identity. Again, my mistake for assuming you were one of those.

      All of that said – I’ll have to agree with landygirl, you’ve got a hair trigger on the defensive reaction and that belies your self-proclaimed maturity. None of us has outright insulted you, you inferred insults because we questioned your judgment.

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  • kare

    kare August 15, 2013, 9:59 am

    I gotta say, the boyfriend might not be a child as much as he is respectful. When I was in school and after school when I was searching for a job, I followed my parents’ rules even though they were stricter than most of my friends or my boyfriend at the time. In my mind it wasn’t totally unreasonable to go to church, be home by 10 pm, etc because I wasn’t paying living expenses or anything. As soon as I got a decent job, I found a place to live on my own. I don’t know what the boyfriend’s situation is, but maybe it’s similar?

    Do not marry this guy. Or not anytime soon. Move out on your own, be an adult for awhile, and see how things go.

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      Bunnycsp August 15, 2013, 10:15 am

      I totally agree. I was the same way. My parents gave me a curfew when I was home from college and then after I graduated. I didn’t mind the curfew because my parents were paying so much of my living expenses. I think it is more childish to fight a curfew and throw a tantrum. If he had a problem with it, he could move out.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 10:21 am

        um, i dont really think its so much the whole curfew/parent’s rules thing as it is the fact that he is a grown adult who is not currently and does not show and sign of making his own decisions.

        his parents demanded a marriage before he could move out of his house, and he ” just shrugs and says, “So, we’ll just get married and move in,””

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay August 15, 2013, 10:34 am

        Yes! Respecting rules of the house you live in is one thing, but it appears that he doesn’t think it’s a problem that his parents are dictating the progression of his relationship.

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      • kare

        kare August 15, 2013, 11:28 am

        Meh. You’re not an adult until you are responsible for your expenses and independent of your parents. At 19, he doesn’t sound off base maturity wise. He might be mismatched compared to the LW, but we don’t know if he’s in school, working, or what. I think he’s just naive and trusting his mom but it’s not all that surprising given his age and maturity level. I think it’s a pipedream and not something he will follow up with.

        In random news, I had a date last night with a GORGEOUS Greek guy.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 12:08 pm

        i actually think it is surprising given his age. at that age you really should be well on your way to making your decisions, forming your own opinions, and starting to create the life you want to live.

        its not as if every child that lives in their parents household has no autonomy over their life up to the point that they move out- that model would never work in real world applications.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp August 15, 2013, 12:45 pm

        I totally disagree. Of course it has real world applications. It is all about choices. You can choose to split a house with 10 roommates or live at home. You can go without a car, cell phone, ect. It is all about choices and the LW is proving that it is possible.

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      • avatar

        Matcha August 15, 2013, 1:19 pm

        Eh, I don’t know. It’s a toss-up. When I moved out and had my own expenses, I had a range of roommates – some had worked all the way since high school, some had never worked. One of them had her parents drop off groceries for her. I knew a guy who would take his laundry home every weekend for his mother to do. He was a junior – so ~21. Another person was surprised that raw chicken was red instead of white because she had never seen chicken cooked. We made fun of her for a while after that…

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        Bunnycsp August 15, 2013, 3:14 pm

        some people only see chicken come out of a bucket. I had a conversation about chicken wings and said they only get two wings per bird and she said, “why can’t they have more wings” I said, “Well, all birds have only two wings. It blew her mind.

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      • katie

        katie August 16, 2013, 8:06 am

        wait- who said anything about having roommates or having parents still help you out financially? im talk about autonomy over one’s life choices, referencing the marriage comment i copied above.

        it is not as if every young adult lives completely under their parents rule, up until the point that they leave, and THEN they get to start making their own choices, forming their own opinions, ect. that would not be a sustainable model.

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      • avatar

        Matcha August 16, 2013, 3:41 pm

        > its not as if every child that lives in their parents household has no autonomy over their life up to the point that they move out- that model would never work in real world applications.

        I got off on a tangent, but the post was about a group of people (not that small, so less surprising than you’d think ) who lived just that. They didn’t have any personal freedom over their life choices until their parents let them.

        Their parents made the choice that they would be doing all the cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning, bill paying, doctor appointment scheduling, laundry and the student would not. This extended out to what universities they could apply for and what major they were allowed to select. The students didn’t even consider it an option because that’s just the way things were. Then they’re tossed out into the world to figure it out on their own and hilarity like I mentioned above occurs.

        That model, while not conducive to creating autonomous adults, would and does work in real model applications. I’ve seen it more than a dozen times over.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp August 15, 2013, 12:41 pm

        See, I think parents have the right to say what is going on at their home. He can listen or leave. So if they want her out of the house before they go to bed, I think that is fine. He chooses to live there and obey the rules. He obviously does not see this as a big enough problem so it is up to her to decide if he is worth working within these parameters.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 12:57 pm

        I totally agree. Their house their rules. (Unless he is treated like a tenant and pays rent, utilities etc…then he gets more freedom.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp August 15, 2013, 3:10 pm

        absolutely. I know a guy whose dad died and the mom was having a hard time making ends meet. So he moved in. That is very different then living at home and not contributing.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna August 15, 2013, 10:02 am

    First of all, I think it’s smart that you don’t just jump into marriage because it would allow you to live with your bf. My advice is to focus on what you want rather than on your bf and his family. Like Wendy said, being with him just seems like a bad bargain for you. While you are with him you are not doing other things that could be really interesting and fulfilling. You’re not making the experiences you want to make. I know your bf is probably really important to you. But in the big scheme of thinks, so far he’s just a guy you’ve been dating for 2 years, at a pretty young age. There’s so much to experience in your early twenties that exceeds the importance of that. So don’t close the doors on all of that just to fit into his family’s exceptions.
    PS: I think his mom may be bluffing with the “just get married” thing.

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  • avatar

    Scooze August 15, 2013, 10:03 am

    LW – what about your education? Your career? Your time to grow and learn about who you are? This is the timr to do all of those things so that you can set yourself up for a happy and successful life. Dont shortchange yourself.

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    • avatar

      Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 10:13 am

      I’m currently studying full time doing a bachelor of criminology and criminal justic as well as a bachelor of behavioral studies while working full time as a legal secretary.

      As for career- I don’t want one. I never have. My only dream in life is to be a mum. And while I know that’s not feasible right now, it’s still the only “career” I want. Until that time I’ll continue my studies and my full time employment.

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      • kare

        kare August 15, 2013, 11:42 am

        Oh so you are getting a MRS degree….

        What is the point of going into debt for education to be a mom?

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 12:01 pm

        Why can’t a mum be intelligent?

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      • Copa

        Copa August 15, 2013, 12:08 pm

        I agree with you that education has value even if you eventually become a stay at home mom, BUT, intelligence =/= educated. There are educated idiots and uneducated geniuses.

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 12:15 pm

        My point still stands- swap out the word for educated if you like- why can’t a mother be educated?

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      • Copa

        Copa August 15, 2013, 12:18 pm

        …I said I agree with you. (My point is that I think it’s wrong to swap the words “educated” and “intelligent” becuase they’re two very different things.)

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 12:19 pm

        i think it is very important for parents in general to be educated, because they are the ones who are going to be going out and working to provide for their families.

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        Matcha August 15, 2013, 1:22 pm

        I think it’s a good thing to gain an education – even if it’s not used in the workplace it affects the children they raise.

        I think people are giving you a hard time about it because they feel it doesn’t pass some cost-benefit analysis. (Spending $200,000 on a degree you use for five years that brings in $40k before taxes = $160,000, so you’d be $40,000 in the hole for a degree.) But I think you’re not American, right? So you probably have much less financial debt, making the point moot.

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        CeeSea August 15, 2013, 2:18 pm

        What makes the point moot is that no matter what questionable math you use if she is earning the money she can do whatever she pleases with it. She didn’t write in for financial advice.

        The original comment from @kare was snarky and condescending and is just the type of comment that raises the question of why women can’t be free to choose their own path in life – whether it’s education, marriage, career, family (or a combination of all the above) without judgment from other women instead of understanding and support.

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        kerrycontrary August 15, 2013, 12:05 pm

        It’s good for mothers to be college educated. It makes their children’s lives better. And the LW could be coming from a culture where education isn’t as expensive as it is here in the US. I mean do you really want all stay at home mothers to only have a high school degree?

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay August 15, 2013, 12:23 pm

        Well, as the LW said, it’s not feasible for her to be a mother at this point. You don’t have to forgo education and therefore the employment that you choose just because at some point in life you want to stay home with your kids.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 1:42 pm

        Are you really saying that there is no point in having an education if you plan to be a stay at home mom?
        Yikes, lots of hate on her decision to want to be a stay at home mom.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 15, 2013, 1:57 pm

        To be fair, I just think she’s saying it isn’t worth going into debt if you don’t plan to work, not that anyone who aspires to be a mom should forgo college.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 2:23 pm

        Butttt,

        She said a Mrs. degree. She clearly thought SAHMs don’t need an education.

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      • avatar

        Amanda August 17, 2013, 9:22 am

        Yeah, I agree LBH. That comment was very judgmental and not nice at all. Every person should be able to make the best choices for themselves and not have to deal with judgement from others. MYOB please

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      • avatar

        CeeSea August 15, 2013, 2:05 pm

        This comment honestly disgusts me –

        “What is the point of going into debt for education to be a mom?” Hmm let me think…

        – So she can support herself until that day comes??? What if she doesn’t get married/have kids for 10 more years? Should she just stay in the same position/job (i would assume she would need at least a bachelor’s to get significant promotions) without advancement?

        – Perhaps once her children are grown and out of the house she would reconsider having a career. Having education/work experience already would be helpful

        – Getting a degree is personally fulfilling for her

        – and most importantly educated parents are more likely to produce well-round, well-educated children.

        and when did the LW say she was in debt? it’s possible to get an education without being in debt especially if one is working at the same time.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 15, 2013, 2:22 pm

        I’m surprised you’re all reading the comment to be so much more negative than I think it was intended.

        While I do think @kare’s comment was a bit presumptuous — we don’t know that the LW is in debt, and I’m assuming a lot of us don’t even know if college is as expensive in Australia as it is in the United States (where a lot of us 20-somethings are up to our eyeballs in student loan debt). I’ll also say that I think SAHMs should be educated (if that’s what they want) for all the same reasons you all have put forward. HOWEVER, I’d be inclined to agree that if someone wants to be a SAHM, she should do what she can to minimize her debt load for degree she won’t use professionally.(And I’d caution this to everyone who doesn’t want to use a degree professionally, not just SAHMs. Hell, if I could go back and tell 21-year-old Copa this, I would!)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 2:31 pm

        I think what made me think she wasn’t just thinking rationally with the reasons you put forth is her use of the phrase Mrs. Degree.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 15, 2013, 3:10 pm

        Oh, ~ Mrs. ~ degree—that went right over my head. I see why people are responding the way they are, yeah.

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      • avatar

        SpyGlassez August 22, 2013, 5:31 pm

        Me too, because I actually went to school to earn my MRS – Masters in Religious Studies.

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      • avatar

        CeeSea August 15, 2013, 2:53 pm

        Obviously minimizing debt in ANY situation is the sensible thing to do. No one is disputing that. Not to mention the tone of your comment is markedly different from the one everyone is reading negatively.

        Kare’s comment is not just presumptuous in assuming the LW is racking up debt – it is presumptuous in assuming the LW’s motivation for attending college is anything other than what she says it is. Not to mention it’s not an MRS degree if the “MR” in question doesn’t even attend the same school (or seem to have much financial ambition at all) or make enough to support himself let alone a wife and kids.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 2:56 pm

        And seriously, life happens, she may very well need that degree. I can’t imagine advising someone not to bother with college for this reason.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 3:29 pm

        Divorce isn’t even the only reason she might need the education. Husbands die or get disabled or their industry shrinks/job availability drops. All of which would result in the husband not being able to be the bread winner. It’s pretty smart for just about everyone to develop job skills or get an education.

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      • avatar

        MMcG August 15, 2013, 3:06 pm

        Thank you for the clarification of a mrs needing to find the mr at the same school, because thats the whole point – they (usually women of middle/upper class) went to college, lawschool, etc. to find a worthy man.

        If we are going to be judgy bitches to one another … because apparently we just need to reinforce that feminine stereotype … at least get the insulting terms correct 😉

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 3:09 pm

        I love you sometimes MMcG. I think you are my The One.

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      • avatar

        CeeSea August 15, 2013, 3:16 pm

        haha glad to be of service. I’m eating a salad from Chop’t right now so I’m feel especially self-righteous at the moment.

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      • kare

        kare August 15, 2013, 4:10 pm

        Yikes. That did come off a lot snarkier than intended. I fully support education, but education for educations’ sake with no desire for a career just boggles my mind. There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom, it’s definitely a luxury where I’m from though.

        I hate my student loans and my 9.75% interest rate so the idea of not pursuing a career after all that effort and debt doesn’t make sense to me. It just sucks when you go to school, work to pay bills, take out loans, and there are girls who have their college paid for/aren’t concerned about debt and they have no actual plans to use a degree. I’m obviously very bitter about it, but going to college isn’t a luxury to make one well-rounded in my world. It’s, you go to college and hope you find a job that can pay for your education.

        So again, I apologize for being bitchy.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 4:21 pm

        She may plan to use to degree (and obviously not everyone is forced into debt for college) prior to having her kids.
        I agree its a luxury to be a SAHM, as well as going to college. Sorry I took your comment so badly.

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      • kare

        kare August 15, 2013, 4:21 pm

        Oh and I meant the comment to be more like “get an education and at least entertain the idea of a career because you might not ever be a stay at home mom”. I think everyone should pursue higher education if possible.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark August 15, 2013, 10:19 am

    Eh, you don’t even go to church — yet desperately cling to one of the most repressive religions on the planet — and HE’S being childish? Whatever. Give it up. You two won’t ever be a match. And for that you can both get down on your knees and thank your imaginary guy in the sky. (Hah! How wonderfully absurd that it’s even more or less the same dud — er, I mean, dude, too.)

    Religions! Fucking up lives since the dawn of time! Yay, Jesus!

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    • avatar

      Lily in NYC August 15, 2013, 10:28 am

      “desperately clinging”? Huh. It was barely even part of the letter.

      Reply Link
      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark August 15, 2013, 10:34 am

        Um, okay. Its only the main reason his parents don’t much like her…

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 10:38 am

        I don’t know…maybe they don’t like her because she seems to disrespect house rules (hanging around repeatedly until the parents make comments about her leaving, regardless of time)? Or that she has a strong influence on their son’s life and they aren’t ready for that (happened to me)? Or that she’s encouraging their son to go against their beliefs (living together before marriage)? Or that their son isn’t even 20 and she is rushing down the aisle? There are tons of reasons, in addition to their differing religious beliefs.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark August 15, 2013, 10:46 am

        Eh, all that would be forgiven if she would simply convert and marry their precious son. She won’t convert and so they shall always be pissed off at her. And it will only get worse when the precious grandbabies are baptized Catholic! Nothing brings out peoples’ petty and immature sides than bullshit conflicts over fantasies — er, I mean, religions…

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 10:50 am

        Any babies would be babtized Greek Orthodox, just an FYI.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark August 15, 2013, 12:24 pm

        And how are YOUR parents with that, I wonder…

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 12:31 pm

        They don’t mind. We’re a fairly liberal family. If it makes sense or makes us happy then there’s no harm. They’d only care that the kidlets were healthy and happy and loved- really, what else matters at that age?

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 12:44 pm

        so you dont have to baptize you children but you cant divorce? that seems odd to me…

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 12:57 pm

        Of course they (especially Dad) would prefer it. But in the end a healthy respect for God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is ideal. Our religions aren’t too far apart in theory, it’s just the way each family handles their religion that is at odds.

        There are aspects I really enjoy about his religion- which I’ve read up on and have participated in outside the church for any naysayers- and my arenas also find those aspects desirable in religion

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      • avatar

        oldie August 15, 2013, 4:17 pm

        Your arenas find that desirable. Good Lord, what does that even mean?

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      • avatar

        rachel August 15, 2013, 4:23 pm

        Pretty sure that was just a type, oldie, and she meant “parents”.

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      • avatar

        SpyGlassez August 22, 2013, 5:33 pm

        Technically a baptism in the Greek Orthodox church – or any church aside from the Mormon church – is considered valid by the Catholic church.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 10:55 am

        Sure thing Mark.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 11:26 am

        eh, i mean, he does have a point. conversion is the only way to be a “good person” to people who hold that value, which it sounds like they do hold. until she converts, she isnt “good enough” for their son.

        if she was to convert, then all these problems would go away anyway- she wouldnt have a strong influence on him because thats not in the religion/culture, she wouldnt be at their house probably at all because thats not in the religion/culture (you just get married and then have your own house-type thing), and she wouldnt be pushing values that his family doesnt have, because they would then have the same values.

        for the hardcore, that IS the issue. and furthermore, if she did convert, but still exhibited whatever behaviors contrary to what they thought was right, they could just suggest church to her. it wouldnt be a fatal character flaw then, it would just be something for her to “work on”.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark August 15, 2013, 11:30 am

        EXACTLY!

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 11:32 am

        I was more so annoyed with Mark’s calling of religion “fantasies”.

        Also, just because you’re a devout follower of any religion, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re a total asshole, petty and immature. You could be, definitely, but being a faithful believer doesn’t automatically mean you are bat shit crazy. Which is what Mark is saying, IMO.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 11:36 am

        well, whether it is being an asshole, petty or immature- “my boyfriend told me his mother asked, “In the event that you two get married, will she convert?” And if the answer was no, “there was no point” in beginning a relationship with me.” – they do, i would say pretty definitely, hold that belief.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 12:01 pm

        I’m not disagreeing that they might hold that belief. But I don’t think it’s the only issue or that all would be magically well if she did convert.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana August 16, 2013, 4:08 pm

        just seeing all this today! but yes I AGREE gator girl my parents are devout followers of their religion, but i i were to marry someone who wasn’t our religion (i am not practicing nor do i identify with it any longer) they would accept him with open arms. and although they would probably be uncomfortable or upset if our children weren’t baptized, in my mind, since it means little to me either way, it is one of those things i will do just to make them happy. not everyone pushes their religion on other people, or are crazy conservative dicks just because they are religious.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 2:28 pm

        I doubt the controlling mom thing would go away.
        And I don’t think (just from my experiences) that it means the parents think she’s not good enough unless she converts. Most religious parents I know hope their kid marries within their religion. This mom sounds more controlling than just that, so I think she’d be controlling no matter what. Of course, maybe if her son showed an interest in being independent and adult-like, she would slowly get used to it.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 2:40 pm

        That’s pretty much what I meant. If she is sad that her son is growing up and lashing out because of that, well converting isn’t going to change her behavior. If she’s a helicopter parent, converting isn’t going to change that. If mom is nuts like that one LW who’s MIL washed and folded her undies while she was on vacation…converting isn’t going to change that.

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 10:47 am

        I said talking, not planning. I’m not ready to be married. I’m not even ready for engagement.

        I leave at 8.30 on the dot every time I’m there, noises were made when I first started coming over regularly and being able to stay longer because I got my own transport (8-12 months ago), before that I was leaving by 6.30pm because I was catching public transport. I do not disrespect- or intentionally disrespect people, especially those who are related to people I care about.

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      • avatar

        Matcha August 15, 2013, 1:25 pm

        I’m guessing he doesn’t go over to your place because his/your parents aren’t okay with it?

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 1:28 pm

        Not that theyre not okay with it… They just need “notice”

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      • avatar

        Matcha August 15, 2013, 1:32 pm

        Do you think they would prefer that he spent some time out of the house, or does that put the onus on you drive him back with not a minute past 8:30 pm? (I remember those days and I hated them – me being in your boyfriend’s place.)

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 1:39 pm

        I’d have to drive him back. It doesn’t really seem worth the effort by the time I finish work it’s much easier for me to spend time at his house. Though I spoke to him about that the other day and we’re working on spending more time with my family, he doesn’t see them and is still a little terrified of them

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      • avatar

        rachel August 15, 2013, 2:05 pm

        He’s terrified of your family? What?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 2:08 pm

        I’m guessing she meant nervous around them, not actually terrified.

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      • avatar

        oldie August 15, 2013, 12:15 pm

        It’s the reason she gives for not attending his church.

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    • Copa

      Copa August 15, 2013, 10:47 am

      Um. I mean, just because she doesn’t want to convert to Greek Orthodox doesn’t mean she’s “desperately clinging” to Catholicism.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark August 15, 2013, 10:51 am

        Please. She doesn’t even bother going to church. How important can her Catholicism really be to her?

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      • avatar

        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 11:12 am

        Why does going regularly to church make someone a better Christian than someone who doesn’t?

        My belief and faith is very important to me. I don’t go to church every single week but I pray every single day, I thank God for my life, my family etc.

        Church does not a Catholic make.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark August 15, 2013, 11:31 am

        Tell that to the Pope or, for that matter, any priest and see if they agree…

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      • avatar

        Christy August 15, 2013, 12:08 pm

        Woah, Mark, I actually agree with you.

        Then again, I converted from Catholicism because I was sick of feeling like I was going to hell. I’m one who thinks you shouldn’t half-ass religion. If going to church is important to Rome, then it should be important to Catholics. What they say in the Vatican matters, even if you don’t agree with it.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 12:13 pm

        “What they say in the Vatican matters, even if you don’t agree with it.”

        thank you!

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      • avatar

        temperance August 15, 2013, 3:35 pm

        Because for Catholics, such as yourself, it’s not about believing in Jesus, but going to mass and going through all the rituals/sacraments. Come on, you were raised in the faith, you know this to be true.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 3:46 pm

        So, so many Catholics though, don’t attend mass regularly, but do the sacraments and pray, etc.

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      • BriarRose

        BriarRose August 15, 2013, 5:58 pm

        From the years I spent growing up in the Catholic Church, I can assure you that you’re supposed to go to church every week, on Holy Days of obligation, and make a weekly donation to your church.

        Being Catholic=going to church.

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      • BriarRose

        BriarRose August 15, 2013, 6:00 pm

        That was a reply to the LW, btw. Have to say I definitely agree with Mark in this instance.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 15, 2013, 11:24 am

        That’s actually why I didn’t seem to think she’s clinging to anything. I don’t think you can cling to something that you truly aren’t. (I assumed she’s agnostic, but maybe doesn’t know what agnosticism is? A lot of non-devout, non-practicing folks claim they’re X religion, which I think is a bit odd. But whatever.) I think by not converting, what she’s clinging onto is NOT taking part of relgion period.

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      • avatar

        oldie August 15, 2013, 12:25 pm

        It depends upon how you define ‘clinging too’. Mark didn’t say she was taking her position based upon a strong religious belief. I think ‘clingling too’ is a well-chosen description of someone who is more a non-practicing member of the Catholic clan. It is a big part of her family tradition and heritage, in a way it defines her tribe, but she doesn’t follow the normal rituals of Catholicism, so in a sense she is ‘clinging to’ the notion of being Catholic, when she really isn’t truly a practicing Catholic. It might be more accurate to say she is a generically Christian-oriented believer in God, who for whatever reason doesn’t want to be a practicing Catholic. This is not an unusual view by any means. It is just strange when she basically says “I can’t sit in your church with you, because I’m a ROMAN Catholic, not a Greek Orthodox Catholic, as if her nominal Catholicism is a cross to wave in front of her as protection from contamination. I’m sure that goes over less well with bf’s parents than if she were an ardent Catholic. To them, she probably is basically a non-believer, as they associate belief with going to church and following the rules of the Church.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson August 15, 2013, 1:10 pm

      All the religion bashing around here really grinds my gears. Live and let live. Love and let love.

      Reply Link
      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 15, 2013, 1:12 pm

        Also I took Sampson to a new day care today and it was really emotional. They just grow up so fast. He was scared, but they have puppy cams so I’ve been checking in on him randomly today and he seems to be making friends. I hope he doesn’t get picked on too much. He has gained a little summer weight.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 1:20 pm

        Puppy cams? For real? Talk about helicopter parenting 😉

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 15, 2013, 1:22 pm

        I know. My life is so embarrassing.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 1:31 pm

        I just got a set of pots and pans for my birthday and squealed with joy. I’d say I’m equally embarrassing right now. (I’d totally watch the cat on video too. Maybe I should look into those for our house when we leave him home overnight…)

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 15, 2013, 1:36 pm

        Yeah I’ve thought about bugging the house with those stuffed animal nanny cams just to see what he gets up too when I’m gone.

        And what kind of pots and pans are they? Really good ones are worth squealing about.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 1:48 pm

        An All Clad stainless 7 piece set! 😀

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      • avatar

        MMcG August 15, 2013, 1:59 pm

        $20 says you’d have 23 hours of sleeping cat. 30 minutes of predatory time and eating. 30 minutes of litter box time and grooming.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 1:30 pm

        Haha, lil’s preschool had those too. You could log on and watch the kids.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 2:48 pm

        haha, ok, so jakes mom did one of those for her dog when she came and visited us, and they could log in with her iphone, and she did this one time and we watched the dog, in real time, escape out of the kitchen (where they were keeping him because he gets emotional when they leave and pees inside, which is why they got the camera in the first place anyway), pulling down the whole intricate barricade that they had made for him piece by piece.

        it was hilarious.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 2:50 pm

        My stepmom has them all over her house (multiple in every room) to watch her cat. It even emails her snapshots every time movement is made.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 15, 2013, 4:23 pm

        Okay, not to complain about wpp, but I can’t fucking get the camera’s to load and I’m flipping out silently in my office. So I downloaded java onto my computer, installed it and everything, and now it still won’t load and just keeps telling me to download java – WHICH I HAVE DONE. I NEED TO SEE SAMPSON HAVING FUN WITH NEW FRIENDS NOW.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 6:04 pm

        I absolutely fucking hate java. It is the reason I can’t print a bunc of coupons I want on a semi regular basis. I hope that Mac buys it and destroys it or something.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 1:20 pm

        For reals!

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  • theattack

    theattack August 15, 2013, 10:24 am

    I apparently have a lot of things to say about this letter today. Is this what you want your love story to look like?

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC August 15, 2013, 10:24 am

    LW, I think you are missing something very important. Let’s say your BF grows up a bit and you guys get married. You will have his mother for your MIL! She will make your entire life together a misery; I guarantee it. And just think how much worse it will get if you have kids.

    And your BF sounds like he’s used to having his mom do everything for him – so be very sure he is not going to expect you to act like his mommy if you end up together. I feel ike there are enough red flags here to MOA.

    My advice – MOA. At the very least, if you end up with this dude, move far, far away from his parents.

    Reply Link
    • mrmidtwenties

      mrmidtwenties August 15, 2013, 10:34 am

      Amazing point, you don’t want his mother in your life, that sounds like hell.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    BreezyAM August 15, 2013, 11:15 am

    Stop trying to make this guy into the guy you actually want because dude it’s not him. I don’t see him as being not an adult; he just has an entirely different family values and culture system than you do. And it’s an extremely rare man who has marriage on the brain at 19. I think part of the reason he’s not moving out is because he’s not interested in marriage. And frankly? You shouldn’t be either. I don’t see a single thing in this letter about education and careers. For someone who wants a 19 yr old adult, that seems strange.

    If you want a guy to move in with you a guy whose parents don’t have rules which you view with disrespect, you need to get with a guy who either lives on his own already, or shares your culture and value system. Right now this guy is enjoying dating you. He’s not thinking marriage, or he’d be moving toward it without you driving him. Those asnwers about being fine with it are to shut you up and get off the subject because do you seriously think a guy who still has mom and dad setting rules for him has the power to decide how he feels about his wife sharing a different religion? He’s talking in the abstract general, not specific reality. So either go back to enjoying dating him (and in a way I kind of agree with his mom, what’s the point of getting into a big deep serious relationship with someone who you KNOW is not the kind of person you want to marry? These are the people with whom one dates and has fun sex with; not big deep relationships) or MOA. But stop trying to reshape him into a) the man you want which is b) not HIM.

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    • avatar

      Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 11:28 am

      You’re wrong. He brings up marriage. I’m the one who isn’t suggesting we talk about it further. He’s the second eldest of kids- family has always been important. His parents got married after 4 months, mine after two years and both sets of parents are still together and both mothers were young- 18 and 21. You have young parents- you grow up wanting that.

      The issue isn’t education and careers- I didn’t realise relationships put an end to those, I always had the opinion that relationships, education and careers could work simultaneously.

      Reply Link
      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 11:39 am

        actually that was what i figured, that he was the one bringing up and pushing marriage.

        in those cultures, thats just what you do. they dont operate on the more “american” or “modern” view of relationships where you find someone and evaluate how they would work, you just find someone you like and marry. its assumed, its inevitable, its expected, ect.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM August 17, 2013, 4:00 pm

        Yes, they can… but if you want a man to support you being a SAHM, this man is not it. He is not ready for this. He is not prepared and ready for it. Even if he IS the one bringing up marriage, he’s not meaning marriage the way YOU do where you evaluate and think about someone. He means it as next step in relationship. Like you “like” each other. Then “ILY” happens. I have no beef with someone wanting to live happily ever after as a SAHM and move on with life and be a baby factory, did it myself with two different dads (long story). But if you want that, you need a professional career minded man who has his shit together *already*. You want an adult? DATE ONE. 19 is not an adult. Go get yourself a 30something who is conservative and wants a young sexy wife to stay home and raise kids. They’re out there!

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  • avatar

    Grilledcheesecalliope August 15, 2013, 11:18 am

    Ugh stop dating him. Everyone needs to just stop dating these people (childish, overly attached to their parents opinions people). Maybe this sounds awful but I really think its in the best interest of society to phase man-children out. Then maybe as mothers start to realize that the have turned their children into undateable weirdos they will quit raising them that way.
    But seriously LW you can’t make him, so don’t worry about it. Dump him and say you want someone you can see outside after 9pm.

    Reply Link
    • katie

      katie August 15, 2013, 11:27 am

      haha, i like this plan of attack for the adult-children.

      Reply Link
  • landygirl

    landygirl August 15, 2013, 11:22 am

    LW, as soon as you start acting like an adult you’ll realize that you can’t make anyone else bend to your will.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    painted_lady August 15, 2013, 11:27 am

    Some advice that will stay with you whether you stay with this guy or not: do NOT try to tell your significant other how their relationship with their family should be. It never works. It either ruins the relationship, or even if it doesn’t, you’re stuck with people who think of you as the bitch that tried to take their baby away. Some people are just close with their parents and don’t have any problem with the things their parents ask of them, and some people have toxic relationships and try to stay away as much as possible. This is not yours to decide!!!! Don’t be the go-between, don’t be the enforcer, just STAY OUT OF IT.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 11:33 am

      I don’t want to ruin their relationship, there’s no intention of that

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      • avatar

        painted_lady August 15, 2013, 11:41 am

        I’m not saying you’re trying to ruin it. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that you don’t like how much he bends to his parents’ will – I couldn’t do it either. But you are trying to alter how he deals with them – the curfew, the 8:30 kickout, the religion thing – and all I’m saying is, you shouldn’t try to change it. It’s probably not going to work, and if it does, it’ll ruin your relationship with them forever, and yes, you are going to have to deal with them for the rest of forever if you marry this guy. Seriously, I’m not looking down on you for not being able to hang, but his relationship with them is not the one you want to try to change.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 12:05 pm

        WPLS as usual.

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      • katie

        katie August 15, 2013, 12:05 pm

        yep, and going off of this- if there is to be any change here, it has to come from HIM.

        that can totally happen, but he has to do it.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 15, 2013, 12:07 pm

        And he has to WANT to do it genuinely. If he makes that change because he feels coerced into it, he’ll likely resent the LW for it later on, and so will his entire family.

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        painted_lady August 15, 2013, 12:12 pm

        You’re so right. My dad and I for years have very quietly hated the relationship my mom has with her sisters. She knew, but we didn’t make it an issue, and finally she’s realizing that they both only call her when they need something and magically disappear when she needs them. It’s such a relief, but all the persuasion in the world would have done nothing but make it uncomfortable for her.

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        painted_lady August 15, 2013, 11:45 am

        Oh, also, when I said “ruin the relationship” in my first post, I meant your relationship with him. I’ve had several boyfriends who’ve been uncomfortable with the fact that I have a really close relationship with my parents. Guess which relationship I still have.

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      painted_lady August 15, 2013, 11:35 am

      Also, as an addendum, if you don’t like the way your SO relates to their family, that’s fine, you’re of course allowed – I can’t tell you how many guys I’ve dated whose family relationships seem bizarre to me. But you’re not going to change it. You’re just not – at least not in a way that’s going to be anything good…so if you can’t accept it, MOA. No shame in that.

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    MMcG August 15, 2013, 12:44 pm

    LW – I haven’t read any of the comments yet but my recommendation to you is to smash your head against a brick wall as hard as you can. That will be more pleasant than trying to force a 20 year old to grow up 😉

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      Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 12:50 pm

      Don’t think I haven’t contemplated that!

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        MMcG August 15, 2013, 1:04 pm

        I appreciate your level headed response to my sarcasm! Serious question for you to ponder… now that I’ve caught up on comments and gotten some more info. Is your bf talking about marriage because he wants to marry you, because it’s the logical next step in his world – marry young, or is he just trying to get out of his parents house? Anything but #1 is not ok.

        Wendy has posted lists of things couples should talk about and discuss before moving in with someone, and a lot of that applies to marriage as well. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders… if bf cant discuss basics like finances, future living arrangements, household chores then hes not ready and needs to stop bringing it up. if he needs to talk to his mom first… well I would run but that’s because I could never have parents – mine or my husband’s – dictating our choices.

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        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 1:21 pm

        Thank you, I even remained unoffended the entire way through!

        That serious question is something I’ve been wondering myself. And to be 100% honest I think it’s a little of both- he loves me, he wants a future, he wants marriage and kids. And partly because he gets to move out. If I wasn’t already saying not yet, that’d make me say it

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        MMcG August 15, 2013, 1:48 pm

        As you are doing your thinking please put more emphasis on his actions versus his words. Im reading a lot of “hes bringing it up” but talk is cheap. What else is he doing to get to know you better, how much time does he spend with your family and friends? Im reading that you put kn a whole lot of effort going to his place, doing what his parents will allow him to do… if effort isn’t a 2 way street while he’s courting you imagine what effort he will put into your marriage and family. What do the men of his family do, how do they interact with their wives and children?

        Lastly. If hes the oldest does he have to get married first? I know nothing about greeks or their religion… but that could be at play here as well.

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        oldie August 15, 2013, 3:15 pm

        Unless he seems an insincere or shallow thinker, I’d assume that your bf really does want to marry you. For him, that is the next step to adulthood and he will know when he feels ready to move from talking about it to doing it. The disconnect comes in you and he having different definitions of the necessary milestones to adulthood. To him, it’s get a job, find the right woman, get married. To you it requires living together, or I guess even him living alone apart from his parents, before being adult enough to marry. That isn’t him or his family’s tradition. You might as well tell him that to be mature enough to marry you he has to complete 3 sky dives and fight a grizzly bear to the death with just a knife. It is that alien. It makes sense to you, but not to your bf and his parents. If you want to marry him, you may have to come up with an alternate criterion for judging his maturity. You are unlikely to have the opportunity to observe him living apart from his parents, even if you are willing to wait a half dozen years.

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    GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 1:05 pm

    So, IMO, you can’t make anyone change. And even if they do change, just to make you happy, there is a pretty good chance they are going to harbor some resentment or at minimum negative feelings about changing JUST for the other person.

    Love isn’t always enough to make a relationship work.

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    spark August 15, 2013, 1:18 pm

    You’re still a kid yourself. And I’m not just talking about your age, although that’s a large part of it. I’ve read your letter and your follow-up comments, and you sound just as immature as he does, albeit in different ways. But that’s okay–you’re only 21. And he’s only 19! If he’s acting like a teenager, it’s probably because he IS one.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle August 15, 2013, 1:36 pm

    I’m late to this due to being home from work today… but basically, LW, I don’t think this is a match. You’re not going to be able to remove whatever ingrained family & religious values this young man has—there’s just no way to get him to leave the nest if his response to your pushes for him to grow up is, “let’s get married” (so he can move out). That response indicates there’s no compromise for him. And I think you’re right to be worried that, whether you get married now or 5 years from now, he’ll still be stunted & wind up turning to you as a mother replacement.

    Now, to address some of the other points brought up, I really don’t see how LW not going to church is rude. If the mother wants her to ~convert~ then, I mean, her attending with them is kind of sticking her foot in quicksand, a bit, no? I can see why she’s resisting involvement there in any capacity.

    Also, injecting personal opinion here, I do think the house rules sound nuts. Do not blame her at all for being “Wtf” about the way Boyfriend is bending to those. But again, to “still dating a kid”, you have to sort of come to terms with the fact that he’s not changing—or, if he does, it will probably be a slow progression as he ages into his 20s. I don’t see the point in sticking around though, honestly. Too much of a divide.

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    • theattack

      theattack August 15, 2013, 1:52 pm

      Ftr, I never said it was rude to not attend church. Just that it’s a step she could take to try to form a relationship with them while still maintaining her boundaries. But other than that, WFS.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 15, 2013, 2:16 pm

        No, I knew what you were getting at, but I feel like LW was defensive/misunderstanding so I wanted to sort of chime in, that I knew where she was coming from?

        Either way, I think it’s a moot point because, well, ahhh, I think they should just end their relationship instead of navigating all this? haha

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    lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 1:49 pm

    I don’t really get why everyone is worked up over this letter. LWs practically a kid trying to navigate becoming an adult. She’s in school, works and has a boyfriend. Ok, normal. The religion thing? Some parents don’t like their kids marrying into other religions, for many reasons, some really good ones–how their kids will raise their children. Pretty normal issue. And LW wants to be a SAHM eventually, but is immersing herself in adulthood first, and going through her relationship with caution. Not good? Really? Seems pretty smart and normal. I’d worry too if my boyfriend never lived alone or had very religious parents. Its smart that she’s addressing this now.

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      lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 1:51 pm

      So nice to see all the religion bashing and SAHM bashing though. Really, just lovely.

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        MMcG August 15, 2013, 2:10 pm

        I’m choosing to believe that the good folks at DW, viewing the SAHM issue versus educational opportunities, are warped in their responses because of the high cost of education in the US. So when someone states they want to be a SAHM and is in school they’re looking at the basic cost benefit scenarios for the future. What seems to have been missed is that there are a lot of ways to further your education without going into terrible debt. Further missed is that as an Aussie shes likely to have very subsidized/free higher education. just like in Europe… its viewed as a right along with the amazing family leave that is provided if one does have a child. I wish I lived in commie-social land like the majority of the rest of the world, but alas im stuck with my 6 figure student loans and crazy childcare costs.

        Of all the issues this LW might have in the future, being a SAHM with a college education in Australia isnt one of them.

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        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 2:17 pm

        I still think it would be terrible advice to say if you plan on being a SAHM, you shouldn’t bother with college. I thought what you are saying might be the case, but even still, awful advice, imo.

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        rachel August 15, 2013, 2:20 pm

        That seemed strange to me, too. Even if I don’t *get* the urge to be a SAHM, at the expense of any sort of career, I think it’s smart to go to college even if that’s your plan. You’re not completely in control of whether you can become a sahm or even a mom, so having education so you can support yourself is important.

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        oldie August 15, 2013, 6:27 pm

        Is it really religion bashing or merely pointing out the inconsistencies of this particular LW’s approach to her religion. I’ve know quite a few Catholics like LW: “My Catholicism is very important to me, except I don’t go to mass, or confession, and I disagree with the Church on birth control, and partially on abortion, and divorce, and I don’t believe in papal infallibility. So, it always amazes me that these people don’t just become good Presbyterians or whatever, where they could be part of a religion that actually preaches and allows what they believe. The answer is that they were born Catholic. Their relatives are all Catholics. It is their tribe. They aren’t really Catholic in religious philosophy, but they want to still consider themselves part of that tribe. OFten, they expect the Church to change its views on gays, women in the priesthood, contraception, abortion, just about every doctrine held near and dear by the Church, rather than just finding a denomination that matches their religious and social views. That is what I call clinging to a religion. Don’t mean to pick on the Catholics, this LW is a Catholic in name, but you could draw the same examples to many other denominations and religions.

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        GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 6:30 pm

        I don’t think LBH is saying the LW or other DWers pointing out inconsistencies are bashing religion rather commenters like BGM who VERY clearly do say hateful things about religion including calling it a “fantasy”.

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        oldie August 15, 2013, 3:09 pm

        Yes, many a SAHM has been unwillingly transformed into a divorced single MOm needing a good job to support her family. Best to have the educational background to get that higher paying job if the need arises. Also, even married SAHMs age out of existence and still have 20+ working-age years to meaningfully fill after their kids are basically out of the house. Having the education gives more options. Plus, for many, even those who never plan to work and never do work outside the home, getting an education and learning a lot about a particular subject can be just about the best fun there is.

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        oldie August 15, 2013, 3:19 pm

        I will add, however, that marrying your bf may not be consistent with your desire to be a SAHM. If you need a guy who is able to support you and the kids on his own, this may not be the guy, and not simply because he doesn’t presently control his own bank account. You say he doesn’t have a high paying job. You talk about what you are doing to prepare yourself for a better job, which you don’t plan to keep, but not what bf is doing to prepare for a good enough job to allow you to be a SAHM. If he doesn’t earn enough for that now, and there isn’t a clear and reasonable plan to get from where he is to where he will need to be jobwise, then… basically wishful thinking on your part.

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        MMcG August 15, 2013, 3:10 pm

        Oh I think its bad advice as well. Education is key and all that! Just trying to take a generous perspective on what folks were writing.

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        Ammie August 16, 2013, 5:51 pm

        Agreed. An older woman in the lab said this to me once… I was working on my doctorate and she had hers, and we were both doing research for a living. I said I would probably like to stay home with my kids for a while when I had some, and she asked me if I didn’t think I’d be wasting my education. I told her what I believed then and what I believe now. Children benefit in many ways from highly educated mothers (as examples of women who have made it “all the way” in academia and are capable of being financially independent from their husbands – I’ve heard too many men whine about golddiggers and claim superior intellect to believe that these examples wouldn’t be useful to small children when forming their own opinions on gender roles), and I owe my labor to no one but who I choose to spend it on. If I choose to spend it on my children someday, then I will do that. And when I can have a career following the time I’ve spent with them, they will no doubt benefit from that example and the income it brings in as well.

        Dear anyone who wants to make my life decisions for me, even under the guise of concern: Kindly take care of your own self, your own decisions, and your own family first.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 15, 2013, 2:24 pm

        Yeah, I think the responses to that were just a general, “why spend all that money, then?” (& of course, that’s an illegitimate concern anyway, since she’s outside of the U.S.) I really don’t think it was judgement.

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        lets_be_honest August 15, 2013, 2:33 pm

        That pretty stupid logic imo, and I def found some of the comments very judgmental, not just ‘oh but why expensive college if you might not use your degree while you’re raising your kids.’

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      BreezyAM August 17, 2013, 4:03 pm

      I agree with you totally. I just think she needs to accept that yes… she is dating (a 19 yr old who she perceives to be) a kid. This is not what she actually wants. She wants an adult man. She needs to face this and move on.

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  • avatar

    Lucy August 15, 2013, 2:07 pm

    Dear Wendy:

    I respectfully requested that you dispense with the facepalm letters for at least a week. My head hurts.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark August 16, 2013, 12:45 am

      Seriously. Once upon a time there were intelligent letters (occasionally) that actually dealt with REAL problems and not a constant stream of Look-at-how-desperate-and-fucked-in-the-head! letters… It’s beyond depressing… Enough with stupid relationship drama bullshit. Every letter in the past week really could just be answered with M.O.A.

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  • Jess

    Jess August 15, 2013, 2:33 pm

    This letter is missing 2 critical bits of information. Location and Date.

    Was it sent to us from the 1940s? Because the description of life choices for the 19-20 year olds in this letter reminds me of the stories my grandmothers tell me. Although to be fair, both my grandmothers ran off with some dashing army man, married shotgun style, and crushed their parent’s hearts (but never divorced, naturally).

    Was it sent to us from a far-off land? If the letter was written recently, I am dying to visit this well-preserved town where time has stood still. Nothing else short of a time machine could afford me such a detailed look at what life must have been like for teenagers 70 years ago. Living at home until marriage. Strict religious observations. Restrictions and obligations (conversion!) on marrying outside your faith. Finding your lifelong partner in high school and planning a wedding before you’re old enough to drink (well, probably women don’t drink in this faraway land, it’s not lady-like). Fascinating! I bet the young women wear those cool pantyhose with the stitching up the back and everyone can sew and knit. I have a sewing machine from the 1930s and maybe I could pick up some tips.

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      j. August 19, 2013, 3:55 pm

      This comment contributed virtually nothing to the conversation…

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  • avatar

    Jenny August 15, 2013, 2:59 pm

    Look, if you had super oppressive parents that controlled your every move and they told you “get married and you can be free!” you’d want to get married when you were 19, too. My husband used to be in the military and we’d see all these young couples that got married at 18 because it meant freedom and they could live on their own and it was exciting. And you know what happened to them? The novelty wore off, real life hit, and they’d get divorced. You two might not divorce because of religious beliefs, but you’d still be miserable. No matter what your boyfriend SAYS, his actions show he is not ready to marry you. Not anytime soon. Nor should he be ready, he’s 19! I think if you’re craving an adult relationship, you need to date an adult (because, for all intents and purposes, your boyfriend is still a child). This is coming from someone who has been with her husband since she was 19…so I don’t think 19 is too young to know you’ve met the love of your life. But my husband and I wanted the same things out of life, had the same vision for the future, and were willing to work for it. We didn’t just sit around and talk about it. Kids do that. It’s time to let this relationship go, I think.

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    Steeze August 15, 2013, 3:01 pm

    That’s pretty funny. Growing up I sometimes felt like I was growing up in another decade than the other kids. (Child of Greek immigrants here.) I have a theory: when my parents immigrated it was the 70’s and when they came to this new country, they held onto the Greek beliefs and Greek values of that time. I guess in some way so they can hold onto their identity. Anyway, so when they had kids they raised them the way their parents did trying to keep up tradition or something like that. That’s my theory anyway. Anyway, ya, it can be smothering at times but if you assert yourself and show you’re a responsible adult, they let you go. You just have to show them how to treat you…

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    MMcG August 15, 2013, 3:14 pm

    New rule. You must have a bank account in your own name before contemplating marriage.

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    temperance August 15, 2013, 3:51 pm

    So, LW, you aren’t going to change this guy if he’s so willing to be cowed by his family. He might “value” your own opinions, but your life together, if you get married, will be just like his family’s.

    I have a friend who married an Italian guy from a close-knit family, to the point where he lived at home until marriage by choice, and where he thinks any woman should be like his mother in cooking, cleaning methods, etc. It’s not a great situation. Thing is, she didn’t expect him to change. I hope you don’t.

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    jbk886 August 15, 2013, 4:47 pm

    LW, give yourself a little bit more time to grow into yourself. You sound like a normal and responsible 21 year old. You’re doing fine. In the next couple of years, you’re going to change in ways that you can’t quite predict right now. You’re going to firm up your feelings on certain things, including what values are important to you, the sort of life you want to live, and what you need from your future husband in order to be happy. Some of the convictions you have now will stay the same, or even strengthen; some others might shift. I’m 27, and between the ages of 20-24, what I realized was important in a marriage changed quite a bit (for instance, I cared less about how cute the guy was, and much more about how much the guy genuinely liked young children – true story). Who I married in my mid-20s was very different from who I dated in my early 20s.
    You may find that in a couple of years, this guy is still the one for you. I think it’s okay that he hasn’t moved out at 19, but I think that he should move out of his parents’ house before he gets married. Here’s my twist on it, though: he should move out and live on his own – without you. Let him have some time to learn how to take care of himself – do the dishes/laundry/pay bills/file taxes/apartment and car upkeep/weeding, etc. If he goes straight from his mom’s house to yours, it will be very easy for you to just take over all of those duties, and it might not even occur to him how much you are doing. This will also give you a chance to see him act as an adult, without the filter of your own work. How does he solve problems? Can he budget? Does he figure things out for himself? Realistically, that’s what you need to know before getting married; you may as well learn it without the potential ick of breaking up with someone you live with. Based on observation, I don’t think that living together really makes that much of a difference so far as finding out if you want to marry someone. However, it will make his parents more hostile to you. I suggest forgoing it, because I don’t think it’s worth the drama.
    Lastly, the mother: it really does matter that you try to develop a decent relationship. You don’t have to love her, you don’t have to want to talk to her all the time, but you should try to make her happy every once in a while. I’m also Catholic, and I married a guy who grew up in the Ukrainian church, so I understand not speaking the language. I also get how long and monotonous all of the chanting can get. I would make a good faith effort to go to their church for some occasion, so that you’re not always saying “no.” Many Greek churches in the U.S. have Greek festivals – if that’s also the case in Australia, that might be one time to go. Another time might be if there is a particularly important holy day that they celebrate in an interesting way. Although you’re not Greek, you could also ask the mother to teach you how to make something Greek – that will also show her that if her son marries you, you will accommodate their culture in some ways. Trust me, if I can fake enthusiasm for plain buttered noodles with cabbage, you can summon some interest in baklava or spanikopita. Ask her how to say certain things in Greek, if they speak it at home. At the same time, you can bring up similarities between your cultures/religions, so that your worldview seems less threatening. Wanting to stay home to raise your children is a plus in that department. Being committed to a lifetime of marriage is, too.

    So, in summary: give yourself some time to decide if this is the one, give him some time to move out and live on his own, and use cultural things to improve your relationship with his family.

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      jbk886 August 15, 2013, 5:02 pm

      Last quick thought: I didn’t address it above, but I did see that he doesn’t have a bank account. He should open one. There’s no need for it to be secret. He should tell his parents that he’s learning how to budget and plan so that when he has a family he has developed those skills. If one condition of living with his family is that he has to contribute to rent, fine – that’s a predictable expense that should only take up part of his paycheck.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson August 15, 2013, 5:21 pm

    I realize that my only comments on this letter have been thread jacking. So let me say something relevant. You can’t make anyone grow up. What a bizarre thing to say. And most of all why would you want to? That sounds exhausting. You say you have a full time job. Do you want to pick up a second full time job as full time momager? Barftown.

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      starpattern August 15, 2013, 5:58 pm

      +1 for “momager.” Haha

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      oldie August 15, 2013, 6:17 pm

      Very true. This is another case of her bf is practically perfect, except that he is totally unacc eptable unless he matures into the adult she wants and changes how he relates to his family. So… how good is he really for LW, or is he the object around which a fantasy has been spun. He will be the perfect, supportive, loving, makes her feel totally beautiful and great about herself SAHM, except he won’t stop living with his parents, lacks a job that would allow him to support a family, doesn’t even have his own transportation, and shows no signs of changing as desired. She wants a mature adult, but chooses to date a 19 year old, living with his parents, who apparently has shown scant progress in progressing to adulthood. That’s not on bf, that’s on LW. There is a nice, traditional Greek girl out there, who will love to pamper him and blend into his family, just as he and they are today. LW just isn’t that woman.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl August 15, 2013, 6:32 pm

      It almost feels like she thinks that she should be the one controlling him, not his parents. He’s just trading one type of control for another.

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    Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 6:38 pm

    You are very judge mental and very hurtful. You cannot possibly understand the effort I put in to fit in with his family- who do like me. His Mother likes me. I pamper him, I put up with his yelling, I listen to his tears, I hold his hand when he’s in pain, I’m learning Greek, I’m learning Greek recipes, I cook and bring food to family barbecues, I encourage him to do what he wants to do, I encourage him through his university- excuse me for getting frustrated when I put in effort and it isn’t able to come back.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle August 15, 2013, 6:42 pm

      Do you like doing these things, though? Like, in all honesty? Or has it just become almost a competition with yourself to see if you ~can~ mesh into his very Greek family? You don’t have to do any of this. In fact, you shouldn’t. Especially if the relationship is unbalanced (he yells at you? he won’t hang out with your family, because he’s “Terrified” of them? etc.) Just consider whether this is even worth it…

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        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 7:00 pm

        I like doing these things, I’m utterly fascinated by his culture.

        Putting up with his yelling doesn’t mean he’s yelling at me. People tell when their angry people cry when they’re sad. No one can say that it doesn’t happen. I’m always there or a phone call away for whenever he needs me.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson August 15, 2013, 6:44 pm

      Why would you want to put up with someones yelling and tears? I’m confused. That doesn’t make you an awesome girlfriend. That makes you a girlfriend that lacks a backbone.

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        rachel August 15, 2013, 6:49 pm

        Ooh, yeah, I forgot to even respond about the the yelling. Who wants to be in a relationship where you have to “put up with yelling”?

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      rachel August 15, 2013, 6:45 pm

      I’m not sure who you’re replying to here.

      If you are putting in effort and not getting anything back – there is nothing you can do about it, aside from tell your boyfriend what you need and see if he is willing to provide it. You said above that he is unhappy with the way his parents treat him, but it is only up to him to do something about it. He needs to open a bank account, for starters, and deal with his own money. And, as forceful as his parents may be, it’s up to him when he moves out, and when he gets married. It doesn’t sound like he’s willing to stand up to his parents (at least not yet), so it’s really up to you to decide if that’s something you’re willing to deal with.

      Also, after your description here of your relationship, it sounds like the mother is grooming you to replace her as your boyfriend’s care-taker.

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      GatorGirl August 15, 2013, 6:48 pm

      First off, why do you put up with someone who yells?

      Secondly, why do you put up with someone who isn’t giving your anything in return??

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    • theattack

      theattack August 15, 2013, 6:49 pm

      LW, no one has been mean to you here. You wanted advice, and we all gave it to you. You just didn’t like what you heard. Besides a couple of irrelevant side debates, almost all of us agreed, which should tell you something. It sounds like you do really care about your relationship, but that doesn’t mean that your relationship is compatible for the long term. You are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I hope you stay around and continue to read DW. You’ll see that these same things are what we generally tell LWs in similar situations, and that’s because they’re almost always true.

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        Still Dating a Kid August 15, 2013, 7:05 pm

        Some of those comments had barbs in them. I came here for advice (which I got) and not to have my religious beliefs, my morals, my reasons for education and my own human worth put into question (which I got). If I wanted that I would have gone back to high school.

        Advice I don’t want to hear was always expected. I have people who tell me it’s possible and most of you who say it isn’t. I don’t have a problem with that.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 15, 2013, 7:38 pm

        I don’t think anyone was trying to be hurtful. I certainly wasn’t.

        When you write a letter asking for advice, people will make assumptions. They’ll read their own experiences into YOUR situation & fill in the blanks. I understand that you want to clear up the incorrect assumptions we have made, but it turned into a situation where defending yourself didn’t change anyone’s mind. So you defended yourself more, and kept digging yourself in deeper because with each clarification, our opinions aren’t changing. Which is kind of exasperating.

        Like your most recent comment about putting in effort that isn’t reciprocated. Not intending to be hurtful or mean: WHY are you still hanging on? The answer “Because I love him” isn’t a good one, because love isn’t always enough — and I think that’s something a lot of people here are trying to get at.

        Good luck in navigating this relationship! Please update us down the road!

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        jbk886 August 15, 2013, 10:37 pm

        I think it’s a fair call on her part that some people got overly combative. I definitely scrolled past some subsets of the comments because of the tone (MRS degree and religion-bashing not least among them). Let’s not gaslight the poor girl.
        I’m kind of scratching my head about what the problem is, now that everything that stood out as being problematic in the original letter has been denied as an issue. I guess the only remaining problem is that the guy is 19, an age at which most American guys are still living at home when they’re back from college, so not being completely mature just seems typical of that age. Ideally, I think most people should be at a point where they know what they want for their career and have landed a full-time job in it before they take on the responsibility of a family – it’s a good way of knowing they’re serious about being an adult.
        LW, the best way to deal with all of this feedback is to give yourself a few days before going back through the comments – right now, a lot of this probably feels like criticism, which is really hard to read, but there were some good suggestions in here. Having some mental space before scrolling through everything again will be useful.

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        Matcha August 16, 2013, 3:53 pm

        Yeah, I agree. The tangents on religion were way too long and harsh – although lots of commenters presented both views. I could understand feeling alienated. I agree she should probably take a step back and wait a few days.

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        oldie August 17, 2013, 6:52 pm

        Well, LW made a HUGE issue of the religious difference problem in her initial post, even relaying the story of the mother telling her son not to go on a first date unless LW was willing to convert, refusing to visit her bf’s church even once, and how important her own religion was to her. Then is was never-mind and the whole religion issue was like a red herring to avoid talking about the real issues. We went from bf isn’t allowed to move in with her, bf needs to prove he’s an independent man, she has to be out of bf’s house by 8:30 with bf’s Mom making shooing sounds if she stays later to… not a problem either. Kid can’t go out with his male friends after 8:30 either. LW leaves on her own promptly by 8:30, she just needs some way of knowing the real bf and finding out if he can be an independent adult. Then, whoops, another red herring. Turns out LW is now in a contest with bf’s mom to see which of them can pamper him the most. She puts up with the shouting, the crying, the needing to rush over to hold his hand to comfort him when he is sad or in pain. Since pampering and coddling is not way to lead a man-child into independent adulthood, clearly want LW wants is to transfer her bf’s dependence from his mother to her. Turns out Mom is happy with that. No hypocrisy at all. Mom knows her man-child can’t cope with life on his own and is merely afraid that if LW is not bound to him by marriage, she will take the guy out on and adulthood trial run together and if he doesn’t pass the adulthood test to LW’s standards it will be see ya and Mom is left with a broken-hearted, incapable of coping, son who is out of the nest and totally incapable of flying on his own. Then we had the side excursion into SAHM with a husband who is not going to be able to support his family or even cope if LW isn’t there to hold his hand. So, cutting through all the crap, LW is faced with the stark question: do you want your bf to grow up or do you want to train him to be as dependent on you as he now is towards his mother? You can’t say a man is too immature and then brag about how you pamper him and rush over to hold his hand through his tears when he is sad. That is not how a boy transitions into a man. He has to learn to deal with life’s frustrations and his emotions, without yelling, tears, and your hand holding. He needs to make decisions and right or wrong accept responsibility for them, learning from his mistakes. He needs to learn to pick himself back up after he falls. He needs to learn wait until he sees you the next day to unload his load of anguish. There is a lot he needs to learn that doesn’t require moving out of Mom’s house. It requires both you and Mom backing off and setting the expectation that he will be treated like a man and have to act like one, not whine, cry, or yell until one or the other of your rushes in to comfort and pamper him. This is true whatever emotional, mental, or psychological problems the guy has. Independence only comes from being independent and it is LW who is the hypocrite by railing against a man-child bf and his enabling Mom, while trying to be a bigger enabler than his Mom. That is sad and more than a little cruel.

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        oldie August 15, 2013, 10:17 pm

        The more you respond, the worse it sounds. Really, there is so much cognitive dissonance beteen the relationship you want and the relationship you’ve locked onto and won’t let go off. You say you are seeking a mature man who is your equal. Yet, as a 21-year old who has been self-supporting and self-sufficient for 3 years, you sought out a year and a half younger guy who lives with his parents and can’t stand up to them, and who has the curfew time of a 10-year old.

        You tolerate him yelling at you. You accept his crying and requiring you to rush over for hand holding when he’s sad. You tolerate that he finds it to frightening to spend time with your family. YOu tolerate that you have to drive him if you go out and have him home by 8:30. How does any of that even hint of his being your equal or having the potential to be your equal. You also say you put out a huge effort in the relationship and get little return effort from your bf. Why is this an appealing situation to you? In answer to your earlier question/comment — no, his behavior is not normal. Not at all normal for a well-adjusted 19-year old. You sound like you want to be his Mommy as much as his wife.

        From your earlier comments about his family, they sounded like very conservative, controlling, mind-still-in-the-old-world Greeks who just wanted to assure that their son was a virgin when he married a virgin. With the added information, it really sounds like your bf’s parents recognize that he has emotional/psychological problems and don’t think that he can cope on his own. They want to pass responsibility for him directly onto a spouse who will care for him for the rest of his life. He truly sounds like an aged-out-of-pubic-school special ed kid, who would be classified as socially and emotionally disturbed in the state in which I live. His parents’ attitude toward him is the same as my in-laws towards their schizophrenic son.

        So… why are you so anxious to take on the responsibility for this man child? You should get yourself into counseling to answer that question. You are tolerating quite unacceptable behavior and seem a glutton for more of same. It is hard to see what you get out of this. I don’t see a stable guy who will support you and your family, while you live out your dream as a SAHM. That is fantasy-land. You’ve latched onto this square peg and are desperately trying to ram him into the round-hole life you’ve mapped out for yourself. It isn’t going to end well.

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        oldie August 15, 2013, 10:42 pm

        If you want to date and marry your equal, then you need to keep dating different men until you find one who actually is your equal today. You can’t take someone, whom you clearly recognize as very immature and not your equal, and mold him into your equal.

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        BreezyAM August 17, 2013, 4:06 pm

        Yeah, this I should have read all this first. What Oldie said!

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        jbk886 August 15, 2013, 10:44 pm

        I think you’re blowing what she’s been saying out of proportion.

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        Matcha August 16, 2013, 3:59 pm

        Me, too. When I was in high school and still in my parents’ care, my curfew was 3 hours after I started hanging out with my friends and I was only allowed to go out 1 day every other week. They were also never allowed to come inside the house. I was not allowed a car, meaning my friend’s would have to drop me off mid-whatever they were doing, to my embarrassment. It sucked and it was Draconian.

        When you live at home with your parents, you just put up with it. It doesn’t make you an “aged-out-of-pubic-school special ed kid.” It means you don’t make enough money to pay your tuition and don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of forcing your parents to disown you.

        Still, I agree that it doesn’t seem like the LW is getting a good deal in her relationship. She probably needs to have a discussion with her boyfriend about how to get her needs met, which is difficult because she’ll also be negotiating with what his parents allow. (So in short, what everyone else is saying: You can’t force someone to become an adult. It’s likely he won’t become independent until he’s out of the house.)

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 16, 2013, 12:37 am

        Actually, my curfew at 10 years old was 9 pm. 😉 Seriously.

        At any rate, yeah, what a fucking mess. It’s amazing how fucking desperate 99.99% of all the LW’s are around here lately. Talk about pathetic. Ugh…

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    • katie

      katie August 16, 2013, 8:11 am

      ill say it again- i think that deep down you do know that this will never work and that is why you have such a strong emotional response to people actually plainly talking about that fact.

      no one was judgmental or hurtful. except a few other debates, like TA said, which happen on EVERY letter so dont feel weird about it, everyone DID agree. and we have a rule here on DW, and that is if everyone agrees- if everyone out of this crazy mixed bag we have of people at varying education levels, income levels, genders, sexualities, races, religions, ect, then the advice is sound.

      so you might not like it, but its good advice. you are not going to create the life you want with this guy. and the sooner you realize that the better.

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      starpattern August 16, 2013, 11:58 am

      I think most of us have been where you are, even if the details vary. I dated some guy in college for 2 years that I thought I was going to marry. I thought I loved him (I say I thought I did because four years and a lot of distance gave me a much different perspective) and I was always looking for ways to be supportive, fit in with his family, fit in with his friends, make him happy, make his life easier – I’d drop everything any time he needed me. I thought that’s what relationships were supposed to be about – right? Except that all the effort I was putting in wasn’t making that relationship any more happy or healthy for me, or any more fit to survive for the long term. I was always so focused on making the effort that I forgot to notice that I wasn’t really getting anything out of it. Sure, we had fun together, I cared about him – but putting in all that effort and still not having that relationship shape up the way I wanted it to was incredibly frustrating. Anyway, leaving that relationship felt like my whole world was ending, but now I realize that it was never going to work out – and I’m so glad it didn’t because I got the chance to grow on my own and meet someone who is a much better fit for me and the way I see my life.

      Consider that this might be one of those relationships that will not fit no matter how much you want it to. Please do not hold on to this relationship in a desperate attempt to make it work just because you want it to and you have put so much effort in already. Give it a little more time if that’s what you want – but decide what you need in your relationship to make you happy, and tell your boyfriend. If he starts making those changes (not just saying he will), maybe he is the guy for you. But if he doesn’t, please do what I had so much trouble doing and just take the plunge and leave before all you remember about the relationship is frustration and unhappiness. Find a guy who is right for you and how you see your future.

      Anyway, try to see that the people here are not intending to be judgmental or hurtful to you. We/they can be blunt, matter of fact, and even sarcastic, but these comments are giving you an objective look at your situation according to the details you provided. There were a few unnecessary barbs, yes, but don’t throw out all this good advice because of that. A lot of these folks have been there in one way or another… take advantage of that perspective!

      Best of luck to you.

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    oldie August 15, 2013, 10:45 pm

    The LW has revised so much since the original post, that this is really the sort of thread on which it would help if Wendy jumped back in with a revised response.

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      jbk886 August 15, 2013, 10:49 pm

      Agreed! I’d love to know her perspective on the fuller story.

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      • katie

        katie August 16, 2013, 8:13 am

        honestly, none of the updates made the story any better or gave a different perspective. other then the fact that she is actively trying to “be greek”, all of the major factors and problems and concerns are the same and she just started to make excuses and figure out how it could still work out, without addressing any of the major factors, problems, and concerns.

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        lets_be_honest August 16, 2013, 9:52 am

        I didn’t read anything bad about her trying to “be greek.” I think its nice she’s putting in an effort like that. If my boyfriend loved his mom’s lasagna or whatever, I’d try to make it for him too. I actually agree with the LW this time. I think people were being overly harsh.

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      • katie

        katie August 16, 2013, 7:47 pm

        the only reason actively trying to “be greek” was significant was because of the “refusal” to go to church line. i think people took that as her refusal of their general culture and so that was a significant detail. and, i agree, i think its great she takes an active roll in learning how about their culture. that was just the only significant update she gave, thats what i meant.

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        oldie August 16, 2013, 8:00 pm

        I got a very different perspective from the updates. Initial letter his mother was telling her son if LW wouldn’t convert there was no use in dating her. That seems past and the mother is her buddy. We now have the mention of the bf yelling, crying, needing her to come rushing over to hold his hand while he is in pain and be available to be on the phone when he needs help, and help/encourage him through university. In short, she seems to be doing a lot of mothering of her bf and the bf seems less a guy who can’t stand up to an over-bearing mother, than a hot mess special needs bf who sounds unlikely to be capable of being independent.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra August 16, 2013, 10:13 am

    I’m really really late to this party, but I wanted to throw in my two cents.

    I haven’t read the entire thread, but LW, I understand that this relationship feels differently and I understand that he makes you happy. I get that. I understand the talk of marriage because I did the same thing with my first boyfriend, who was also my first love. I was so happy being with him and we loved each other deeply for a long time. When we broke up I was devastated, but the reasons we broke up weren’t necessarily because we didn’t love each other. The reasons why we broke up were because of practical things — differences in money management, me not wanting to live together without at least an engagement, and lots of other reasons.

    My point is that your boyfriend has a lot of baggage with his family, and it sounds like you want that to change. But, if you marry your boyfriend, you marry his family and all the baggage that comes with it. Things don’t change just because you get married. If he’s not willing to change now, that’s not going to change. I wanted to change a lot about my first boyfriend when I was with him. As I said, I loved him deeply, but there were certain things that I didn’t want him to do. The biggest lesson I learned through that was that you CAN’T change someone no matter how hard you try. They have to be the one who is willing to change.

    I totally understand why you got defensive over this. I understand that you want to make things work with your boyfriend and I’m sure he’s a great guy. Yet, you’re still really young. You learn so much about yourself and about what you want in life throughout your 20’s. I remember when I turned 20 I thought I had everything figured out, but now that I look back I didn’t have anything figured out. I didn’t know who I was yet or what I truly wanted in a significant other or anything. I’ve always been told that I am mature for my age, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t grown up or had room to grow. Let yourself grow and don’t jump too quickly into a marriage. Getting married is a BIG deal. I’m not saying that you aren’t mature enough or ready because obviously I don’t know you personally, but it most definitely doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is ready for such a commitment. Just enjoy being with him for now and keep yourself open to his family’s beliefs.

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    Amanda August 17, 2013, 10:59 am

    LW, I was in your exact place at 21 9 years ago with a boyfriend that I had been dating for 4 years. All I can say is that I AM SO GLAD that I didn’t marry that guy! I could sing it from the rooftops I am so happy. I remember though, I was very much in love and very invested in making the relationship work. However, nothing that I could do could make our relationship sustainable for a long-term marriage. It’s devastating to realize, but all the love in the universe cannot make a relationship last. I’m very sorry LW. I don’t know what your future holds, but for me the end of my relationship was a blessing in disguise. I was truly devastated when the relationship ended, but I learned so much from the experience, including what I wanted for my life (an education, a career, a family, house, financial stability, etc) and needed in a life-long, healthy relationship. I am now a STEM PhD candidate, married to an awesome human with very similar life goals and is someone whom I both love and respect, own my own home and I’m pregnant. No one knows what the future holds for them, but it’s important that we all work for the future that we want.

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