Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Parents Won’t Let Me Get Married”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss getting married at 18, being “just a number,” and dating royalty.

I’m eighteen and my boyfriend and I have been dating for almost two years. He recently proposed and we’re planning on getting married. So now we’re trying to figure out our life together. I grew up in a pretty strict Christian home and my parents don’t think it’s right for me to move in with him before I’m married. I, however, don’t mind. Our plan is to move in with his mom until we get stable jobs and onto our feet and then to find an apartment or house. But my parents told me this is wrong. They also told me that, if I choose this way, they won’t support me anymore and won’t help me with college — and they also won’t sign the papers for us to get married. Moving there is the only way I’ll be happy — and keep him. What do you think I should do? — Young and In Love


 
Getting married just to “keep” a guy when doing so means losing the home you live in and the support you need to get through college is so balls-out stupid, it boggles my mind that anyone would half a brain would consider such a thing. If you’re so in love, your dude will wait until you finish college. If he won’t wait now, just imagine how little support you’ll get from him when you’re married!

P.S. You’re 18; Why do you need your parents’ consent to get married?

I met this guy a few weeks ago at a work event and we hit it off well. We text just about every day. We live several hours apart, but he has driven to my hometown once to take me out, and I once to his. On our second date, we went back to his place to hang out, which ultimately led to sex. I asked him before the act if we should do it, that I didn’t want to be just “a number.” He said he really liked me and that he was amazed by how much we had in common, but that he understood if I didn’t want to have sex.

It’s been almost a week, and he doesn’t seem as eager as he used to (initiating texting, the things we talk about, etc.). I’m worried that I gave it up too soon, and that he might have lost interest. Have I ruined it? — Moved Too Fast

 
Unfortunately for you, this guy was only interested in you for the sex and once he got it, he was ready to move on. If he wanted a relationship with you, he would have told you that’s what he wanted or that he was willing to wait until you felt ready instead of saying, “I like you, but I understand if you don’t want to have sex.” That’s code for: “I understand if you don’t want to have sex with someone who doesn’t want a relationship with you.”

I met this guy, and he really likes me! He’s falling for me fast, and I’m not sure if I feel the same. See, I’m 21, and I have never had a serious relationship, and have never had someone treat me like the queen I deserve to be treated as until I met him. I admit that I’m scared to fall in love, and I wonder if that’s holding me back from admitting I like him. I talk about him to my friends sometimes and I question myself daily as to if I truly like him. I really want to! But I’m just not sure. Plus he’s ten years older than I am and I don’t know how I’d accept that. So my questions to you are: Do you think I like him, but I’m just scared to admit it? And, should I give him what he deserves and be with him? — Scared to Fall


 
People don’t “deserve” to be treated like royalty simply for being alive, and I’m not so sure you’re who this guy necessarily “deserves” to be with just because you liken yourself to a queen. If you think you may like, go on a date and see if you click. Why are your pressuring yourself to “be with” someone you aren’t even sure you like?

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter and ‘like’ me on Facebook.

108 comments… add one
  • avatar

    kerrycontrary August 10, 2012, 9:08 am

    LW1: if you think you are mature enough for a marriage, then you should be mature enough to pay for your own college. And yeh, I hope your parents didn’t fool you into thinking you need their consent to get married at 18, because you don’t. Barring extreme circumstances, your parents should not be 100 percent supporting either of you after you get married.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl August 10, 2012, 9:11 am

    LW1 – I started dating my husband when I was 15 and guess what… we didn’t get married until I was 23. We both had to go to college eand then I went on to grad school while he started a job. During this time, we did not live together – mainly due to the fact that we were in different cities and states at the time. We waited until we were emotionally old enough and financially stable to get married. If you are truly meant to marry this man, then you don’t need to rush it.

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    • avatar

      Kristen August 10, 2012, 9:22 am

      Same! We started dating at 15, too, and just got married at 24/25. LW, if you’re truly in love with him and want to make it work, there’s no reason to rush. Just take your time and let your relationship play out through college and beyond. You may find that you grow apart, or you may grow closer together. By getting married at 18, there’s no way to find out which one it will be (except the hard way).

      Also, if your parents have you convinced that at 18 you still need their signature to get married, you’re probably not mature enough to be getting married anyway.

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    • avatar

      Ally August 10, 2012, 10:33 am

      It’s so nice to hear both of your stories! I’ve been with my guy since I was 16, now 21, usually hear nothing but how we’ll grow apart, or change too much, so it’s good to know it works out for people 🙂

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      • avatar

        Ally August 10, 2012, 10:34 am

        Forgot to add my point: If you are planning on spending the rest of your lives together anyway, what’s the point of rushing into marriage?

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    • avatar

      Lindsay August 10, 2012, 10:54 am

      Good advice. I had a neighbor about my age who was raised in a strict Christian household. She left at 18 and got married immediately, with no college education. Now, she’s 26 with two children who were taken into foster care (because she can’t afford to keep) and has been divorced once. I also believe she’s on like her fourth live-in boyfriend, and all her statuses about how pissed she is that she can’t get food stamps (yet, she complains about how Obama spends too much on welfare — but that’s another story). Anyway, LW1 may think that her life could never turn out like that, but when you get married before you’ve established an adult life and spurn your parents’ offer to pay for college, it’s much more possible than you’d think.

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    • othy

      Othy August 10, 2012, 12:10 pm

      I, too, have been with my husband since I was 16. After I graduated from high school, I went out of state for college. We lived across the country from each other while I was in school, and honestly, it improved our relationship. We learned how to communicate effectively, and how to be our own independent adults. It wasn’t until after I had completed school, had my own job, was paying for my own grad school, and hadn’t taken a dime from my parents in over a year that I then got married. Ten years later, we are still happily married and I don’t regret waiting or the time apart.

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  • avatar

    Desiree August 10, 2012, 9:15 am

    LW3: When you’re really with the right person, you won’t have to write in to an advice column to figure out if you like him. It’ll be like lightning, and you won’t be able to deny it. Furthermore: you don’t deserve to be treated like a queen. You deserve to be treated like a human being, with respect and dignity. It is possible that a guy in love with you *will* treat you like royalty, but you sure as hell shouldn’t expect it.

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    • avatar

      oldie August 10, 2012, 9:25 am

      Yes, this ‘treated like a queen’ is the province of fairy tales and girls with bf who are grooming them to be abused, or at least treated as a very subordinate, passive member of a relationship. This is especially true when you see this behavior coming from a decade older guy who is not part of the over-70s old-style chivalry crowd. Try expecting to be treated kindly and lovingly as an equal, who is taken seriously. Looking to be treated like a pampered queen seldom ends well.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh August 10, 2012, 9:21 am

    if either one of you is under 18 do both sets of parents have to give consent? that’s the only thing i could think of. unless she’s not actually 18 yet…

    either way LW1 listen to Wendy. And if you want to be treated like an adult you have to act like one. If you want to make your own decisions you have to learn to support yourself. If you can’t, you have to listen to Mom and Dad until you can live on your own and support yourself.

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    • katie

      katie August 10, 2012, 9:34 am

      thats what i thought too- the boyfriend isnt 18 yet…

      but i dont know if thats the way it works, though.

      maybe their church requires the parents to sign something? so its not like a legal thing but a church wedding thing?

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph August 11, 2012, 6:52 am

        That could be. My fiance and I were given forms from the Catholic church that relatives or close friends need to sign saying that we (my fiance and I) aren’t related, haven’t been married, etc. But even so, you don’t necessarily need your parents to sign them… and that’s only for your marriage to be recognized by the church. If you wanted to go to a judge or something, then they can’t stop you if you’re both 18.
        She probably says “18” but means “I am almost 17 and a half!”

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle August 10, 2012, 9:22 am

    LW1: You’re 18 & about to start college…why do you want to get married? You can plan to share your life with this guy without rushing to the altar right now. Although if moving in with his mother is the only way for you to “keep” him, he’s probably not worth it…

    LW2: I’m so sick of the did-I-‘give-it-up’-too-soon? thing– sex is not something you “give” in exchange for a relationship. Either someone wants a relationship, or they don’t. This guy didn’t. Forget about him.

    LW3: “People don’t ‘deserve’ to be treated like royalty simply for being alive” WWS!!!

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray August 10, 2012, 9:27 am

    Lol – LW1’s parents are funny. I can see them conspiring late at night: “Honey, she wants to marry him, she’s barely 18, what are we going to do?!” “Let’s tell her she needs consent and then let’s not give it to her.” “Genius. I love you!” “I love you more.” “No I love you more.” And then they do it.

    Just like that. That’s how I’m going to parent.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson August 10, 2012, 9:36 am

      They’re totally conspiring. And I like it.

      LW1 – your grand plan in life is to move in with your boyfriend’s mom? Seriously? This is how you want to live your life? And in the process give up financial help to go to college? I would lie to you too and tell you you needed my consent. Because clearly you can’t make good decisions on your own. If you want to be treated like an adult act like one.

      Why does this remind me of a bad episode of Teen Mom? Have girls learned nothing from that show?!

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG August 10, 2012, 9:48 am

      Awesome. I love that they do it at the end.

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    • Budj

      Budj August 10, 2012, 9:51 am

      Parenting is going to be your foreplay? Or conspiring? Both? Parental conspiracies?!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 10, 2012, 10:11 am

        Ha! Sure, why not, all of the above. Anything can be foreplay, really! But mostly brilliant ideas – big turn on. If you whisper [funny and wise] sweet nothings in my ear, my pants just fall off by themselves – it’s the weirdest thing.

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      • katie

        katie August 10, 2012, 10:13 am

        funny- that happens when i eat duck.

        haha

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 10, 2012, 10:50 am

        We should have a weekend open thread about weird things that make you want to drop your pants. Like new school supplies. And the lemony scent after you’ve cleaned the house.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger August 10, 2012, 5:24 pm

        Three piece suits…mmmm…

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph August 11, 2012, 6:54 am

        Loading the dishwasher without being asked.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 11, 2012, 3:08 pm

        Giving me the rest of his spicy tuna rolls.

        Filling my glass of wine so it is never empty. (That’s actually a smart move.)

        Saying, “sure, let’s watch Judging Amy reruns.”

        I could go on, this is fun!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 11, 2012, 4:48 pm

        New Lululemon. Taking the dog out without being asked. Not eating my leftover Qdoba burrito.

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  • avatar

    TheGirl August 10, 2012, 9:36 am

    LW3: Another perspective for you. He’s 31. You’re 21 and you’ve never had a long term relationship. Based on his age and the way he’s treating you, most likely he’s looking for marriage material, and based on your age and experience, you are most definitely NOT. If you can’t even be sure you like this guy, cut him loose for his own good.

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    • avatar

      MJ August 10, 2012, 9:58 am

      Yep, LW, when you’re 31 and looking to settle down, this might look more appealing. In the meantime, go out and have some fun with boys your own age.

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  • avatar

    SweetPeaG August 10, 2012, 9:37 am

    LOL. I love these Wendy. I am always thankful for the comic relief (especially on a Friday after a rough week).

    LW1- Raised by strict Christian parents. I hear that. It can be tough. It can be good… but it can be so tough. I am still wrestling with that stuff at 31. But, don’t let your urge to break away and be your own person allow you to make a poor decision (because that is what I am sensing here). Go to college… and if your parents are paying for it… awesome! If this guy loves you, he will still be loving you in four years. So, wait it out.

    LW2- That sucks. But, Wendy gave you the answer you need. Don’t beat yourself up over it. When to have or not to have sex is a very personal decision. In the future, if you get a strong feeling you’re going to end up feeling shitty after having sex with someone… I guess don’t have it with them. Easier said than done, I know. Forget about this guy and move on.

    LW3- I think that the phrase “He treats me like a queen” or “I deserve to be treated like a queen” has sort of been beaten into our heads. We’re all little princesses that deserve a fairytale… bla bla bla. I can’t blame you for your phrasing, especially given your lack of experience. But, really- don’t put so much pressure on this situation! Go on a date with this guy. Go on two dates with this guy. If you really aren’t into it, then don’t force yourself to be into it. It is that simple. There WILL be a guy who you DO like who treats you well. But, do your best to rid yourself of the fantasy image you have in your head of what relationships are. A guy that is over the top with gifts and poetry and flowers every day- BEWARE- that probably won’t last. You deserve to be treated with love and kindness and respect- we all do. So, set your bar there and you’ll do just fine.

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  • avatar

    TheGirl August 10, 2012, 9:40 am

    O.k., I just looked it up and there ARE a few states where you need parental consent at 18. Mississippi (21 years old) and Nebraska (19 years old). I did not know that…

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    • MaterialsGirl

      MaterialsGirl August 10, 2012, 9:43 am

      wow really? That seems crazy. MISSISSIPPI of all places? We should probably remind them that you don’t have to get married to have a baby..

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    • katie

      katie August 10, 2012, 9:49 am

      no way! thats so weird! i thought the 18 adult age was in all states.. like the drinking age is in all states.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray August 10, 2012, 10:01 am

      Oh man, good research, TheGirl. (But couldn’t you have just let us enjoy blindly ripping on LW1? Ha.) I’d bet a million bucks LW1 is in Mississippi… Christian home + silly 18 year olds wanting to marry = Mississippi, no?

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      • katie

        katie August 10, 2012, 10:15 am

        i actually would guess nebraska… but ive never driven through mississippi. nebraska has jesus adds and anti-abortion adds on every other corn field. its crazy. oh, and, they have NO GOOD FOOD along the highway from denver to chicago. none. i had to eat at my hotel, and that wasnt good either.

        i kind of hate nebraska.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 10, 2012, 10:17 am

        You take it back. You should have asked me! I have driven between Denver and Lincoln many times.

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      • katie

        katie August 10, 2012, 10:21 am

        sorry. i know my view is baised off of one highway i drove over the course of like 6 hours, but thats all i got.

        there was seriously a subway on every exit. every. single. exit. i hate subway! it was a bad 6 hours…

        your a fan of the husker team, right? the red one?

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 10, 2012, 10:44 am

        See – we’re health conscious! I can’t believe you don’t like Subway. I used to love it! And Taco Johns.

        And you were only I-76 that then turns into I-80.

        I sure am a husker fan!

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      • katie

        katie August 10, 2012, 11:06 am

        im very concerned about any place, especially of the fast/casual variety, thats serve potentially hazardous foods… you just have no idea who the employees are.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 10, 2012, 11:21 am

        Are there any fast food places that are okay? Or are they all filled with grossness?

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      • katie

        katie August 10, 2012, 11:32 am

        i will eat at places who actually cook food. so like dobas, chipotle, five guys, culvers… i dont eat at places who dont cook things, like mcdonalds/burger kind/ect, just on principle. i will rarely, if ever, eat hazardous foods unless jake makes them… so like sandwich meat (which i realize you buy, so i only buy it and i will only eat it the first week i have it), any kind of salad (potato, tuna, ect), seafood, unless it is from a nice place, . i always get my meat cooked pretty thoroughly when i eat out as well. and i know what the “leftover meals” are made, so i try to stay away from those…

        im pretty picky, and i eat at home a lot. lol

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 10, 2012, 11:44 am

        Iwanna, you’ll appreciate this: When I first started practicing law in Kansas City I got to go to this Big 12 Conf. party and I ended up talking to this Nebraska football coach who was there with his son and grandson. I got my picture taken with them so I could show my dad, a HUGE Nebraska football fan (for some odd reason). Except I can’t remember the name of the coach because he was never featured in US Weekly or on Access Hollywood, you see. Still, cool, eh? I should try to find that picture so you can tell me who the coach is. I think he was a former coach. Or maybe the then-current coach. This would have been in, like, 2006 or 2007. I dunno.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 10, 2012, 11:47 am

        Tom Osbourne? He’s the only one I think old enough to have grandkids. Was he super old? Like 75ish? He’s a legend. I got to meet him once and I couldn’t even handle my luck. Also, I think you Dad and I would have gotten along.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 10, 2012, 11:48 am

        Maybe let’s figure out all Nebraska football coaches who are (a) still alive and (b) have a son and grandson. There can’t be too many, right??

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 10, 2012, 11:52 am

        Did he look like this…

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 10, 2012, 12:00 pm

        I have no clue. It could have been. I really don’t remember. I do remember this one time when I was in law school in Columbia, MO, there was a rumor that Brad Pitt was in town, so my friend and I set out to find him. We didn’t find him. But we did meet and have a drink with an editor/reporter/paparazzi lady from US Weekly who was in town on assignment to snag a picture of Brad visiting his old college stomping grounds. That was a cool day.

        In short, I have clearer memories of (maybe) being in the same town at the same time as Brad Pitt but never actually seeing him than meeting this Nebraska football coach.

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      • avatar

        Traci August 12, 2012, 2:26 pm

        If it was a head coach, this would’ve been Tom Osbourne or Frank Solich. Bill Callahan (most hated Husker coach of present days) was coach from 2004-2007, but I don’t think he’s old enough to have a grandson.

        I’m a Husker born and raised; I live in Lincoln and am a UNL alum, so I’m definitely not immune to the “Bleed Husker Red” phenomenon. Tom Osbourne is THE legend here (ok, Bob Devaney was pretty good too, but Tom’s still around). If I met Tom I would fangirl out like crazy.

        Also, not sure what road the original poster was on, but if it was I-80, there are tons of places to eat along the way. You may have to go a couple blocks off the interstate in either direction to get there, but there are usually lots of signs. But this IS Nebraska, so if she was hoping for some fancy-schmancy vegetarian fare right along the interstate, then her disappointment is understandable. Even in Lincoln it takes some searching to find health-conscious, vegetarian-friendly restaurants.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones August 12, 2012, 7:17 pm

        Oh C’mon! Lake McConnaughy! As in Matthew! (it is the only place worth visiting in Nebraska…) a 4 hour drive from Denver.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 10, 2012, 10:20 am

        Impossible. Did you not pass any McDonalds or Taco Bells along the way?! I dream of swimming naked in a sea of sausage and egg mcmuffins and burrito surpremes.

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      • katie

        katie August 10, 2012, 10:22 am

        i dont remember taco bell, but mcdonalds, yes. mcdonalds and subway.. i dont eat at mcdonalds though except for coffee. and i dont trust subway’s meat.

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      • avatar

        bethany August 10, 2012, 10:46 am

        All Subway’s smell funny. I think it’s the bread. I hate that place.

        Now T-Bell… That’s heaven on Earth.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 10, 2012, 10:48 am

        Yeah I hate Subway smell. I can’t eat it anymore because they have nothing gluten free, but I used to love their flat bread sandwiches!

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG August 10, 2012, 11:01 am

        I love Subway… but I don’t eat meat, so I don’t have to be afraid of that part. I just like the fact that they have a sandwich I can get full of veggies when I don’t have a fridge full of veggies at home. And crazy enough, I think their bread is tasty.

        Taco Bell makes me gag so bad. I’ve had GOOD Mexican food. Their stuff looks inedible.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl August 10, 2012, 11:16 am

        Have you had their falafel sandwich? Its not bad

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      • avatar

        rachel August 10, 2012, 11:31 am

        Subway has falafel?

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG August 10, 2012, 12:41 pm

        They do??

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      • avatar

        bethany August 10, 2012, 12:03 pm

        You really can’t compare T-Bell to actual Mexican food. They’re not even in the same category (I LOOOOVE actual Mexican food–Oh and Text-Mex, too!!) But that doesn’t make TBell any less wonderful, IMO.

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG August 10, 2012, 12:48 pm

        I guess I never gave Taco Bell a shot since they don’t have veggie options 🙂

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      • avatar

        Joanna August 10, 2012, 2:48 pm

        Yeah they do. You can substitute beans for the ground beef in any of their meals.

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      • avatar

        rachel August 10, 2012, 11:31 am

        They also have a giant Jesus statue on I-80

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    • theattack

      theattack August 10, 2012, 11:36 pm

      Even so, she could just drive over the state line and do it. I probably shouldn’t be giving her these ideas…

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  • avatar

    bethany August 10, 2012, 9:43 am

    LW1– Seriously?? If you are in fact 18, you don’t need anyone’s permission to get married. You go get your marriage certificate, go to city hall, have a witness and BOOM- You’re married.

    But, you totally should NOT do that. Obviously, you’re too young to get married, since you didn’t even know that you could legally get married without your parent’s permission. You need to go to school, get a job and live in the real world a little before you decide to get married.

    Spend a year taking care of yourself- Go to the grocery store, make dinner, learn how to do your taxes and buy a car. Apply to college, get a job. Learn to be a functional adult before you get married.

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  • avatar

    bethany August 10, 2012, 9:44 am

    LW3- You don’t like him. If you liked him, you’d know.

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  • Budj

    Budj August 10, 2012, 9:44 am

    1 – sounds like a grand way to start your life. If you married this guy right now I guarantee you you would be divorced by 23 at the latest…hopefully without children, but probably with….

    2 – the distance guys will go to get laid never surprises me.

    3 – You sound too young for him. Large age gaps at your point are either monstrous or not a big deal…you sound like the former. I would hazard a guess,at this point in your life, that you are more interested in project / broken-wing syndrome men that are non-committing because that plays right into the emotional roller coaster excitement you secretly crave and gives your fear of commitment plenty of space. Just let the guy down easy and don’t leave him in limbo.

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  • avatar

    MarkD August 10, 2012, 9:46 am

    LW1 – If you and he cannot support yourselves, you’re not ready to be married.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar August 10, 2012, 10:03 am

      The end.

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    • theattack

      theattack August 10, 2012, 11:38 pm

      That’s really all that needs to be said, isn’t it? So simple. Why have people forgotten that going off and getting married means that you have to be 100% independent?

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph August 11, 2012, 6:59 am

        I think this is a generalization and an Anglo-centric view of things. With this economy it is not unheard of for grown married couples to move in with relatives because they can’t find jobs, can’t afford their house, etc. Also in many other cultures it’s common for larger family units to live together, parents support the kids until one day kids support the parents; even true for immigrant families living in the US.

        The LW should wait, but the rules are not so black and white.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 11, 2012, 11:57 pm

        You’re really going to dispute that people shouldn’t be expected to support themselves when they make the decision to get married? Yes, it is Anglo-centric, but this is also a culture that is primarily driven by those values, so I don’t think it’s wrong to analyze what’s happening within that context. Young people too often expect that their parents will keep supporting them when they get married, and that’s not okay to me.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant August 12, 2012, 1:33 am

        I think its one thing for a couple that hasn’t been able to establish financial independence due to the extraordinary economic situation (but in normal circumstances are capable and would have done so by now) and another for a young couple to be supported when they haven’t even TRIED to establish themselves as adults.

        I agree that couples shouldn’t have to put their lives on hold due to variables outside their control.

        But for two 18 year olds who have yet to do ANYTHING to try to establish themselves as grown-ups? Sorry, I think they can wait at least until they at least try to live independently.

        And p.s., I cosign everything theattack says. In other cultures there may be a different attitude towards marriage and familial support and there’s nothing objectively wrong with that, but those aren’t OUR cultures, and more importantly, its not the one the parents live in. They can’t be coerced into supporting their children if they don’t want to just because families elsewhere in the world do. They clearly don’t want to, and they’re not going to, so that’s that.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph August 12, 2012, 2:23 am

        In this case I think theattack is right as well, but the statement still seemed like a generalization for more than just the LW’s case.
        We don’t know the race/culture of the boyfriend. We know that the LW’s parents don’t want her getting married, but it seems like maybe the guy’s family is ok with it if they’ll let her move in with them, which might indicate that his parents are pushovers or it might indicate a different culture/value set.

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        ele4phant August 12, 2012, 2:11 pm

        Even if it was a generalization, I think it still stands (certainly in the case of this letter writer). Again, I think no one would dispute that other cultures may have different attitudes and expectations for marriage and for young adults, but within this country, the standards for most (most – not every single individual or family, but for most) fall along these lines.

        Generally speaking within our nation (my understanding is that most commenters on this site are from or currently live in the US, or another Western nation), we expect young adults to become rather self sufficient before making decisions like getting married. The fact that its done elsewhere differently isn’t really relevant when talking about expectations we have for people in our country. That’s not a judgement of other customs or cultures, but pragmatically speaking, it makes sense to focus on what is relevant for the presumed culture of most of us commenting here.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 12, 2012, 9:31 pm

        It really wasn’t intended as a general statement for the entire world. I just assumed that the LW and her boyfriend are part of the dominant U.S. culture since she didn’t specify otherwise. I think almost all of the comments on this site usually assume that and make value judgments based on it. We give advice based on what we do or don’t find acceptable in our culture, and we judge a person’s intentions by how they fit into OUR cultural ideas of behavior. If we lived in a different culture, I’m sure our advice to most of the LWs would be drastically different. While my statement might have been Anglo-centric, I don’t think it’s any different from anything else we do here.

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        ele4phant August 12, 2012, 10:17 pm

        I agree. Sometimes when commenters say “But they do it differently in such and such a place! Don’t be so anglo-centric and judgmental about other cultures!” makes me roll my eyes. I mean seriously, congratulations on having such a cross-comparative knowledge of other cultures practices, but that’s not really relevant.

        On this site, its a pretty fair assumption to assume that most letter writers and commenters are all living within the dominant Anglo-culture of the US, unless otherwise specified. Thus, most of the relevant and effective discussion is going to be centered around those values and practices. Its not being dismissive of other cultures, but its not worth considering if its not likely that other cultures are involved.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 12, 2012, 9:33 pm

        Exactly! Thanks ele4phant, for expressing what was in my head much better than I could have!

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  • katie

    katie August 10, 2012, 9:47 am

    ohhh, LW1… do not get married. just dont. you are not ready for so many reasons… if nothing else, please do not become that stasistic of the children of strict religious who marry incredibly young, probably have babies and then divorce mid-twenties because you realize that at 18 you really had no idea what you were thinking. dont be that. and really, starting your life together at his mom’s house? yea, that sounds awesome… there are a few circumstances when that would be acceptable, and wanting to get married at 18 is NOT one of them.

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  • call-me-hobo

    call-me-hobo August 10, 2012, 10:21 am

    LW1: What, what, what are you doing? Slow down, sweet cheeks. I get the being in love with the high school sweetheart thing- I really do. I’m still dating mine 5 years later. But you know what? We both went to college, *different* colleges, even.

    We just graduated in May, and you know what? We still aren’t getting married right now. We both want me to finish my grad school program before we even get serious about taking the plunge.

    If you are really, truly in love with this guy then I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Your relationship does NOT contain an expiration date. If you two are right for each other, then your relationship won’t self destruct simply because you didn’t get married early on.

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    • avatar

      SailorBabe August 10, 2012, 11:09 am

      YAY for Sassy Gay Friend References!

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      • call-me-hobo

        call-me-hobo August 10, 2012, 11:36 am

        And now, we are best friends.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B August 10, 2012, 10:46 am

    LW #3 needs to seriously dial the ego down a notch. A queen? Seriously? There is nothing wrong with self-esteem, but have you heard of the words entitlement and conceit? Unless your parents actually wear crowns on their heads, you are not a princess. It is not attractive, you need to get over it. Let this guy go before he crashes and burns trying to fulfill this unrealistic vision of how you expect to be treated. No man could ever could.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay August 10, 2012, 10:49 am

    LW3: I wasn’t very experienced with dating until after college, so when I started seeing a guy, I wondered if it was just nerves that caused me to be unsure of my feelings for them. It wasn’t. Even if you’re scared to fall in love or get into a relationship, you’d still know whether you liked someone or not. You might get nervous when things start to get serious, but you wouldn’t have to reason with yourself about why you should like the guy.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 August 10, 2012, 9:51 am

    Ok, I haven’t read these yet, but I just wanted to let you all know that when I get on this website on Friday, and I see Short Cuts, I just know I’m going to have a good day. Ok, I will go read them now!

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  • avatar

    Neatist August 10, 2012, 10:57 am

    LW1: PLEASE take some time to develop yourself as an individual. You are jumping from being a child to being co-dependent on your boyfriend – when/if your relationship crumbles you will be in a terrible state. If it is meant to work out, the relationship you have with your boyfriend will withstand the time it takes to grow into mature adults with fully formed values and goals.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 August 10, 2012, 10:03 am

    Ok, so LW1 you aren’t event ready for real life yet so what makes you think are ready for marriage? Neither of you have a job, so you don’t have money, you don’t have your education yet to get you a job that would provide the means to live comfortably, and you have only been with this guy for two years, and it was a high-school relationship! Don’t get me wrong two years, and then getting married can work a lot of the time, but not in your situation.
    Hell you haven’t even experience college yet, and all of the guys there that are going to want to get in your pants, some may even want to date you. If you get married now, you are basically going to ruin your college experience, if you don’t drop out, lose the best years of your life, and be stuck living with his parents, because you have no money, a crappy job, no education, and three babies to take care of, at the nice age of 19!

    LW2 I’m sorry this happened, never believe a guy when he says, I understand if you don’t want too. If he liked liked you, he would have stopped right there.

    LW3 you are two young, and immature for this guy, do him a favor and find somebody your own age, you will both have a lot more fun that way.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 August 10, 2012, 10:17 am

      stupid two! I’m an idiot sorry!

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow August 10, 2012, 2:21 pm

        Yeah, you BETTER apologize. God.

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  • avatar

    Painted lady August 10, 2012, 11:20 am

    LW1 – My parents got married at 19 and 20. My mom has confessed in the most vulnerable of moments that she wishes they’d waited till she had a stronger sense of self and more of a realistic view of the world. My former best friend got married at 18, and she’s currently on her third marriage now, ten years later. I know it doesn’t feel like it – nobody feels strongly about anything and also can tell that they’ll feel differently – but you’re going to change so much over the next few years. Your boyfriend deserves to know who you’re really going to be before he marries you, and you for him. And *you* deserve to know who you’re going to be before you decide something that should be a forever decision.

    LW2 – This guy isn’t blowing you off because you gave it up too early. He planned on blowing you off whether or not you gave it up. He lied, you fell for it. Next time, only have sex if you want to have sex – it’s not going to make or break the relationship if he’s the kind of guy you want to have a relationship with. My boyfriend and I had sex before we made it out the door for our first date, and we’ve been together for two years, but he’d have gladly dealt with having blue balls for much longer if I’d wanted to wait. Either way, a good guy who wants to date you isn’t going to ditch you because of that. Quit beating yourself up over this, let it go, and move on.

    LW3 – Anytime a man pressures you into moving faster than you’d like, or moves faster than actually makes sense, and tries to sweep you off your feet, so to speak, this is a major red flag. He doesn’t care whether or not you feel like a queen; he cares that you’re feeling the things he wants you to and the relationship is happening on his terms alone. Think about it: is he having feelings AT you? In other words, the relationship is sort of happening without your input, all of his actions are based on how he feels rather than any consideration for your needs or any encouragement on your part? And most importantly, if you express discomfort or hesitation with him, does he back off? Or does he ignore you? Or does he say he totally understand and then continue as before? This man sounds like a classic controlling and potentially abusive partner. You don’t sound like you’re into him, and whether or not he’s treating you like a queen, trust that. Don’t date people you have no interest in. That is a good rule of thumb. Also, I know it’s just a phrase, but when a man treats you like a queen and you have no crown, that means he has no interest in who you actually are. As a general rule, I only date men who treat me like a human being and an equal.

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    • avatar

      rachel August 10, 2012, 11:33 am

      WPLS

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      • avatar

        Painted lady August 10, 2012, 11:42 am

        AGH! MY FIRST WPLS!!!!!!!

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  • avatar

    *HmC* August 10, 2012, 11:45 am

    LW3- Asking a relationship blogger if you like someone = you don’t.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant August 10, 2012, 12:00 pm

    I agree with many commenters that this idea of “being treated like a queen” has gotten out of hand.

    Treated with respect? Yes, that’s important. Treated with love? That too. Treated as an equal by your partner? Very important. But to expect a guy to put you on a pedestal or cater to your every whim, to treat you like a queen or a princess, no one is entitled or “deserves” that.

    A great guy will treat you well, yes, but it should be a two way street.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG August 10, 2012, 12:44 pm

      Yes!
      In a good relationship, both people should be focused on putting the other person first. It’s a win-win. I’d be so annoyed with myself if I just sat there and got catered to all day, every day. Eww.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones August 10, 2012, 12:10 pm

    LW1 – Go ahead and get married “to keep your boyfriend” at age 18 with no college education. Then pop out not one but 3 babies (because that will prove that you are an adult and make him love you more) while your husband works a minimum wage job at a convenience store. Don’t bother with health insurance because who needs it and the car needs to be fixed first and then when one of you or the kids gets sick, run to the emergency room and when the bill comes, declare bankruptcy and move back in with his parents. Then get a divorce and live on food stamps as a single mom. Sounds like a brilliant plan for the future NOT!

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  • avatar

    Sheryl August 10, 2012, 12:16 pm

    LW1 – I think there has been enough of the ‘if you can’t support yourself, you aren’t ready to get married’. Yes, some people get married at 18 and it works out, but most of those were probably before 1940.

    LW2 – Keep your pants on until you have a little more confidence the guy is actually into you, not just your parts, and don’t sleep with someone until you can handle

    LW3 – I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this ‘queen’ thing is just a metaphor for treating you with respect, and not as literally like everyone else is saying, because you have had some pretty terrible boyfriends at only age 21. I’m not sure exactly what you are asking though — are you asking if you should sleep and/or date with him just because he treats you nice? The answer is no, just because a guy is nice to you doesn’t mean you owe him anything. As long as you treat him with respect, too, (i.e. don’t take advantage of his money or kindness, lead him on intentionally), that’s all anyone “deserves”. If you like him, continue going on dates / make it official. If you only like how he treats you, then release this guy and find someone who treats you the way you want to be treated, but you actually like back. Also, you do sound very unexperienced and not super mature for your age, so the age gap will likely be more pronounced. Age gaps only work if the younger is more mature for their age, and older is more less mature. I am not getting the impression you meet the criteria for this.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope August 10, 2012, 12:31 pm

    Did anyone besides me think the third letter was a joke? Does anyone really have to ask someone else if they like someone?

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    • Lady_Red

      Red_Lady August 10, 2012, 6:52 pm

      I think her question makes sense. She admitted that she’s very inexperienced w/ dating, and feels like this guy is doing everything right, that maybe she should like him, but for some reason she doesn’t. So it sounds like she’s wondering if it’s just her nervousness at being inexperienced that’s causing her brain to block any “like” feelings, or if there’s something else that’s wrong.
      LW3 – you don’t like him. And that’s fine. I’d be pretty wary of a 31 y/o when I was 21 too. I think it’s (almost) always good to give a guy a chance by going on a date or two, but if you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it. It doesn’t mean he’s a horrible guy, and you’re not being mean in turning him down. In fact, if you do date a man that you’re just not that into, THAT is mean. People do deserve to date someone that truly likes them, and vice versa.

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  • avatar

    AKchic August 10, 2012, 12:39 pm

    Oh LW1, you made me laugh and pity you at the same time. I pity you because you have no idea what life is truly like. At 18, unless you are disabled and have a guardian, you are legally allowed to get married without parental consent. The fact that you are naive enough to buy that bullshit tells me that you aren’t ready for marriage yet.

    You’ll lose your family home and college money. But that’s okay because you’ll just move in with your boyfriend and HIS family? What about supporting yourself? Your husband? College?
    Grow the fuck up. Have a long engagement (and something tells me THAT won’t last too long), and get married AFTER college.

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  • niki

    niki August 10, 2012, 1:18 pm

    LW1- You should totally run off and get married. Living with your in-laws, looking for jobs and taking out student loans really is the only way to prove to your parents that you’re mature. I’m sure they don’t have your best interest in mind they just want to shut down your undying love so they can keep you all to themselves.

    LW2- He obviously wouldn’t have had sex with you if he didn’t want a relationship. Men are always, ALWAYS relationship driven. Right now he is scared of his feelings, so just keep texting him and calling him about once an hour or so. If that doesn’t work drive to his town and find him. He just needs to know you really like him.

    LW3- I think you love this guy for sure. We’ve all seen the fairytales and when the handsome price comes along, you must fall in love and live happily ever after.

    P.S.- Surprise! It’s opposite day! 🙂

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    • Lady_Red

      Red_Lady August 10, 2012, 6:54 pm

      Uh oh, I told my husband this morning that is wasn’t opposite day! I guess I should apologize to him now, huh? 🙂

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow August 10, 2012, 2:30 pm

    LW1: Is this just about sex? Are you waiting until marriage to have sex? I can’t think of any other reason to rush this. My betest bestie met her now-husband when they were in high school. They talked about marriage pretty early on but ultimately waited because it was truly the best thing to do. They stayed together throughout college – never lived together because their families wouldn’t have approved, graduated, got jobs, got a house, and THEN got married. And they are the happiest couple I know.

    LW2: I think this has been said, but if a guy wants a relationship with you then it won’t matter at what point you decide to have sex, like others have said. Unless, of course, he’s a total tool, in which case you don’t want to be with him anyway.

    LW3: You are not obligated to return someone’s affections just because they like you and treat you wel, and don’t let him try to guilt you into anythingl. Wait until you know you like someone back, and then mutually treat EACH OTHER like royalty.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones August 10, 2012, 7:37 pm

      Yes, please LW1, just go and have premarital sex and wait on the marriage.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant August 10, 2012, 5:36 pm

    Guys, maybe we shouldn’t be telling LW1 she can legally get married without her parents consent.

    I mean, now that she realizes she’s a legal adult she may just run-off and do it, which I think everybody would agree, she should not.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow August 10, 2012, 6:07 pm

      I was thinking the same thing.

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    • Lady_Red

      Red_Lady August 10, 2012, 6:56 pm

      Well, she can’t legally drink, and what fun is a wedding when the bride and groom aren’t even supposed to drink?

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  • Lady_Red

    Red_Lady August 10, 2012, 7:04 pm

    LW1 – I’m going to join everyone else in suggesting you wait to get married. Honestly, it just seems really lame to go from being dependent on your parents, to dependent on his parents, to maybe being co-dependent with you husband, if you two are ever able to leave his parents house. Survive on your own for a bit! Learn to be your awesome independent self! And let your boyfriend learn how to be independent himself! Marriages are so much better when you both come into it as 2 complete, fulfilled people. You shouldn’t need a husband in order to be happy – he should be the super-awesome icing on top of an otherwise fulfilled life.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 10, 2012, 7:52 pm

    LW1) Yeah, getting married at all of 18 is a GREAT idea! Perhaps the best ever!!! Be sure to squeeze out as many puppies as you can before you hit 24, too. You guys will be happy forever and ever and ever. You’ll know nothing but financial bliss and hey, the kids will turn out just great, too. Oh, and living with your mother-in-law is truly the greatest thing ever, I’m told… You’ll never want to leave! Good thing, too, because you probably won’t ever be able to anyway.

    LW2) Clearly he told you what you wanted to hear. You thus gave him what he wanted. One of you was lying and it wasn’t the Wham Bam Thank You, Maam! End of romance. Sad but true. MOA.

    LW3) Keep thinking yourself like a queen and nobody will ever measure up. Try looking for someone to treat you as an equal and give up the fucking royal fantasy because all it does in ensure you will be a royal pain in the ass! And trust me — nobody wants to date that.

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  • Lady_Red

    Red_Lady August 10, 2012, 8:40 pm

    Just re-read letter #2, and this stood out: “And, should I give him what he deserves and be with him?”
    He does not deserve someone who isn’t sure if they even like him! If you’re truly unsure, go out on a few dates, and get to know him better. It doesn’t matter if he thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread – if you’re not into him, you need to let him go so that he can find someone that returns his feelings. I know it’s exciting when a guy likes you, but it really isn’t worth pursuing if you don’t truly like him back.

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  • avatar

    DMR August 11, 2012, 8:41 am

    LW1, get married. The only reason you give for not getting married is that your parents won’t approve. That’s not a good enough reason. You’re an adult now. Do you want to go to college? No? I don’t blame you. It’s over-rated.

    But before you get hitched, I’d like to check: although 18, are you being an adult? Do you and your fiance have a plan for how to make it financially in the world? If so, then off you shoot. Elope. If not, then everyone’s fears for you, namely that you are condemning yourself to a life of poverty, are well founded.

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    • avatar

      DMR August 11, 2012, 8:45 am

      changed my mind. Living with your mother in law and dumping your own family are two terrible outcomes right away; it looks like a disaster waiting to happen.

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  • avatar

    DMR August 11, 2012, 8:44 am

    LW2 – you got used for sex, like Wendy said.
    LW3 – just get involved with this guy already. Stop over-thinking it and start living a bit. If you don’t give it a go, you’ll never ever know.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom August 13, 2012, 10:22 am

    LW1 If your boyfriend loves you enough to marry you he won’t disappear just because you don’t get married immediately. He’ll love you enough to be supportive of you going to college because he’ll want what is best for you. He’ll love you enough to wait for you to finish college because the two of you will have a better life that way and if he loves you he’ll want the better life for you. If he loves you he’ll have a stable job when he marries you so that the two of you can have a stable future together. At that point the two of you will be able to provide your own home and make your own decisions without needing the approval of your parents. If he loves you he’ll wait. If he doesn’t wait you need to run because he doesn’t care about you or your future, no matter what he claims.

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