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Are we in a good position to be making these plans for our marriage in the future?

Tagged as: Dating, Family, Love stories, Teenage<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (26 February 2012) 12 Answers - (Newest, 28 February 2012)
A female United Kingdom age 18-21, anonymous writes:

Hi so really this a question to get people's opinion. here's the back history of me and my boyfriend first so you know where I'm coming from :-)

I've been going out with this boy now for 4years he's 19 (20 in september) and I'm 18 (19 in April) we've been together since I was 14 so as you can see it's quite a serious relationship before him I had, had no previous boyfriends but he had, had previous girlfriends.

Now after 4 year we are seriously looking at a future together we had spent just over a month solid together(3 weeks were spent in a caravan so very confined) and we have also had long periods away from each other as he lives away at university. It broke my wart when he moved away but we coped and pulled through.

As long as we have been together we have never had an argument that has brought us even close to breaking up. Now because of how old we were when we first started going out his family and mine still see us as kids but for his older brother (21) his relationship with girlfriend of two years (and many serious arguments and fall outs) is taken more seriously.

Now me and my boyfriend hope to get engaged at 21 and then look at getting married when he has left uni (about a year later) but until then he wants to move in with me but people don't seem to see it as serious, to even mention marriage in the future just seems to amuse them.

I want to know what everyone else thinks of this do you agree and think we are too young to even think about a future together or should we be making our family see that were not 14 any more?

So sorry it's such a long one, thanks for taking the time to read. I want honest opinions so don't hold back.

Thanks

View related questions: engaged, period, university

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 February 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hi thanks again for a responce all of my siblings got engaged and waited untill the best oppourtunity to get married one of them still isn't and probably won't be anytime soon, but by getting engaged she feels that she iis in a committed relationship with someone who won't just take off. She almost got married when she was 22 she ditched him for 4 months due to her age then went back to him had kids and hasn't looked back since and now she's 30. Also because of a rift that split my family for over 2 years everyone makes an effort with each other the sister having a baby is a lesbian so it's more of a big deal to her what my mom thinks, it was like getting my mom acceptance that she was gay again and she didn't know how we would take it.

Once again I would like to thank everyone for their answers you have been very helpful

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (28 February 2012):

CindyCares agony aunt Yes, but you are getting married today, not 10 or 20 or 50 years ago. Today's statistical odds are hugely against you. Which of course it does not mean you are doomed , or that you can't happily celebrate your silver or golden wedding anniversary. Only that if you'd wait some more, you'd make a safer bet.

As for wanting to be in good relationships with your family, who does not want that ?... But, with all due respect for your sister, that's not how it goes among mature, confident, mutually respectful adults. " Getting along " does not mean " I have to please you because if I don't you won't talk to me or you won't love me anymore ". Quite the opposite, it means that, should one of the parties make a decision that the other party is not happy with or does not approve, that will have no bearing on MUTUAL feelings of love and respect.

It's kids who think :" I what what I want when I want it, but I also WANT that everybody is happy about it " ...

Lastly, again, if you are sure about your devotion and feelings, that won't change if you wait that you guys are a bit more settled before making official plans. If we'd go strictly by bridal etiquette... there should be no more than one year between official engagement and wedding. ( the time for getting organized ) Now, all these Martha Stewartish things may sound silly,artificious and outdated, yes, but they are based on something real and sensible. In this case, the assumption that getting engaged means not only " Oh we have so got the hots for each other " but also it has a social meaning : " I am putting my money where my mouth is . I tell my community that I am gonna take this woman / man for life - AND I am doing it NOW to show everybody that I mean business ".

Otherwise , it's a bit like playing house with your 5th grade sweetheart and this is how people are inclined to see it....

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A female reader, k_c100 United Kingdom +, writes (28 February 2012):

k_c100 agony auntI think if you look at the number of couples that are still together today who married when they were young, they will be mostly 50+. This is because marriage meant a lot more back then, people took their vows seriously and getting married was about the marriage not the wedding.

Another problem that at least you wont have is people rushing into marriage - that is another major contributor to divorces. People fall in love and get married way too soon, rather than taking it slowly and getting married once you have been together a long time.

The problem with people today is there is no stigma attached to divorce anymore, therefore divorce is fine and no big deal. Back when our parents/grandparents got married, it was frowned upon to get divorced and you felt like a massive failure if you did get divorced, so people tried much harder to make their marriages work. Unlike today where divorce is so quick and easy, people simply dont try anymore and throw in the towel far too quickly.

I think you sound fairly mature and I'm sure you are being sensible about this, you have been with your boyfriend a long time so at least you have that in your favour. However you will really prove how mature you are if you can wait until you are older - because you will understand that if you are going to be together forever anyway, then there is no rush to have that ring on your finger. If you think that waiting is going to improve your chances of a successful marriage then it completely makes sense to be a bit older when you get married, after all I'm sure you dont want to be just another divorce statistic.

Good luck!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 February 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

What I meant was that there are still a high percentage of people in the 30's/40's/50's/60's who married at a young age between 18 and 21 and are still together today partly due to the fact that most people today will just give up on their relationships rather than work out any minor issues, I don't think you can have a flat rule that all 25 year olds will divorce if they married young but I do agree that there are higher divorce rates now than a few years ago but again I believe this is down to peoples attitude with just ditching someone if things get slightly difficult.

Thanks for the resources, they were very interesting

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A female reader, k_c100 United Kingdom +, writes (27 February 2012):

k_c100 agony auntI'm not sure what you mean by the percentage of people who married at 19/20 who are still together now? Are you asking what is the percentage? In which case the answer is very low!! If you research divorce rates online you will see that the divoce rates are much higher in couples that married young compared to those who wait until they are older.

There is an interesting statistic on this page - http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/divorces-in-england-and-wales/2010/stb-divorces-2010.html#tab-Age-at-divorce

It shows that the percentage of women in the 25-29 bracket filing for divorce is significantly higher than the number of men filing for divorce so it shows its often women that marry young who find themselves wanting to get out.

Here's another article that might be of use - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8331027/Couples-who-marry-young-are-most-likely-to-divorce.html

All the evidence stacks up against couples marrying young, so the best thing you can do is wait.

Good luck!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 February 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Just to mention I’m not jealous of his brother's relationship, as it is falling apart at the seams, I was just making the point that people take his relationship which I failing and see it as serious. I thank you for your comments some I agree with others I don’t. One point I would like to make is what about the percentage of people who married at 19 and 20 and are still together now? The engagement would be when we were both 21 but marriage would be later on as I am well aware that there won’t be enough funds to pay for a wedding and a mortgage.

Also when my boyfriend went to university it was the initial month that was difficult after that I managed to cope I am hoping to go away for a week by myself to do some training and I also have plans to go on holiday with my family and not my boyfriend (it’s a trip to visit friends and he can’t afford to go. Also my family are very close after many events that rocked us in the past, since then even my sister (32) wanted my moms approval before going ahead and having a baby. I do believe it importnat to keep a good relationship with my family as i dont want to end up how my mom is with her mother.

Thanks again for all of your advice.

=)

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A female reader, k_c100 United Kingdom +, writes (27 February 2012):

k_c100 agony auntCindycares is spot on - the fact that you care what your families think so much and are jealous of his brother's relationship smacks of immaturity.

At the end of the day if you are happy together and know you will have a future together, who cares what everyone else thinks?

If you want my opinion you should NEVER get married before the age of 24/25. You change so much in your early 20's, you start out in your careers and when you finally get a job that changes you again. Uni is one time in your life, working is another - to get married right in the middle of that transition is very foolish.

I have 2 female friends who are still with their boyfriends that they had when they were 15/16 (we are 24/25 now). They are still happy and in love, but both have a lot of regrets. Neither girl went to University (because of their boyfriends mostly) and they regret missing that experience. Both of them look at my life with envy and I often get comments of 'I wish I could have done that' - they have in a way been held back by their boyfriends. Thankfully neither of them have got married but they do have mortgages with their boyfriends, again they hate that they got a mortgage so early in life and have that massive burden around their necks for many years to come. I on the other hand rent my house, I am free to move around the country if a great job comes up, I am fairly free and I have a great career (they sacrificed their career dreams to stay in the village we grew up in to be with their boyfriends). It is great that they are still in love, but they have missed out on a lot - so be cautious because in a few years if you are not careful you may end up like my friends.

But it does sound like you have a great relationship, so why do you feel the need to get married so young? Would it really hurt to wait a few years more?

If there are plans to move abroad together that is going to take up so much of your time and money that marriage wont really be an option anyway. I'm sure belly dancing isnt the best paid job in the world (no-offence meant here but dancing is notoriously difficult to make any money from), and if your boyfriend is still a student there is no way you will be able to afford to move to California, let alone pay for a wedding!

Be sensible here, plan to move in together and let marriage come later. There is no rush, you have your whole lives together so let yourself mature and grow, and give your boyfriend the space and time to do the same without the weight and pressure of marriage on your shoulders.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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A female reader, celtic_tiger United Kingdom + , writes (27 February 2012):

celtic_tiger agony auntYour reaction to your boyfriend going shows you are still not emotionally ready for marriage. There are times in relationships where you have to be away from a partner, and whilst it might not be fun, you have to get on with it, and you have to be independent enough to cope on your own.

I do worry, that you are too reliant on him. You need to be a strong individual in your own right. This is one problem with school relationships - one person just becomes totally reliant on the other, and does not learn to be self-supporting emotionally. Teenagers grow up without having to develop an emotional self-reliance. They are used to having their rock/crutch/support to look after them. You have not learnt a crucial lesson in emotional development. When that rock is taken away they are totally lost, and don’t know how to deal with it.

You say that "I have plans to move to California in the future as I am a belly dancer and he wants to move with me and do his doctorate over there so he can be with me"

I work at a university and am about to submit my PhD thesis. Doctoral research does not work like you think it does. You don’t just pick a university and enrol. Depending on the field he works in, there may not be any suitable departments or opportunities to do a doctorate in California. If he wants a funded position, you have to go where the knowledge for your area is, or you have to take up a funded position you may not have any interest in. Uni fees in America are also very high, compared to the UK. You also have to consider that once he has a PhD, in order to get work, he may have to move. No point doing a PhD, spending 3 years and a lot of money, if you don’t use it to get a good job. Would you move with him?

These are all things you will need to consider with regards to your future. I think you are a little naïve in that you think getting married will be a fairy tale. It won’t. You will have to sacrifice an awful lot, especially if he has not finished his studies. What you want will probably come second to his career.

Marriage does not prove maturity; on the contrary rushing into it can show everyone just how immature you are. Marry in haste, repent at leisure. I think you need to focus on becoming more independent and not relying on your boyfriend so much. A good relationship needs two strong individuals who can work alone, yet can share an amazing relationship.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (27 February 2012):

I think you are both very young. To commit to someone totally before your mid-twenties is a mistake in my book. Here is why - you change a lot through those years and you should be living life to the full before you get saddled with the responsibilities of family, bills, mortgage etc. Some people who settle down with their childhood sweethearts and go directly into marriage regret it when they are older and it's too late to just have a free life. I would put thoughts of marriage on hold. Travel, have fun, experience new things together while you have the luxury of just being young and free.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (27 February 2012):

CindyCares agony aunt Just being so concerned about getting your family's approval and ooohs and aahs of elation is sort of juvenile :)

Not that people necessarily must be confrontational or "in your face " with their family, or should not be happy about their family's approval and support if it comes spontaneously.

But what adults do, is deciding about their plans and future ( whether it is about marriage, career, studies, etc.etc.) because they know what's best for them, announcing their decisions calmly and matter-of-fact, then going serenely about their business , no matter which reactions they get from the general public. If others want to comment, criticize, or even laugh - fine, they are allowed to, freedom of speech, but a mature, self confident adult won't be too concerned about the reactions he/she gets.

Yes,personally I think that 21 is very young for getting engaged or married. This is a period of major and rapid changes and most often what was ideal at 18 or 20 is the opposite of what it will be ten years later.

Then again, I can't make a law to forbid people getting married before 30, and each couple is a different case, that allows for so many variables. Why don't you just wait and see- why don't you just enjoy your young love and take it a day at the time for the moment ? what's your rush for making big announcements ? maybe you both should focus on finishing your education, and getting started with your careers ( and finding a reliable source of income ! )- then, at that point , if you still feel the same, make your plans official. By that not so distant time,a) people will take you seriously b)if they don't , you won't give a damn !

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 February 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hi thanks for your advice, it's made me think quite a bit really. I think living together first is probably a good idea as you suggested.

I really do feel strongly about him to the point where I actually became ill when he first left for university. Also in answer to your question I looked at university but it wasn't for me, I have plans to move to calafornia in the future as I am a belly dancer and he wants to move with me and do his doctorate over there so he can be with me.

Thanks again for you responce it has been very helpful

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A female reader, celtic_tiger United Kingdom + , writes (27 February 2012):

celtic_tiger agony auntMost people think getting married at 21 is too young. Regardless of how long you have been together, at 21 you are still learning about who you are and what you want in life.

The changes that happen to you between the ages of 18-25 are huge. Emotionally, you grow up. I know that you think you are mature now, but honestly at 25 you will look back and realise you were not.

Very few school relationships last. After 10 years or so, many fizzle out, and then people become resentful that they were trapped in relationships, and feel they miss out on things. I know you don't feel that now, but who is to say how you feel in another 5 years. Do you want to be divorced before you are 30 because you rushed into a marriage?

The child you were at 14, wanted very different things to the adult you will be at 24. Are you going to university? Do you have dreams? Do you want to travel?

A friend of mine got with her boyfriend at 14, he supported her when her mum died when she was 15 and they have been together since. She is now 25, and altho she loves him, she feels that she has grown up too soon. Because she was in such a serious relationship from such a young age, she has almost lost herself into it. He is also very dominant and she gives in. So when they moved in together, they moved 10 mins walk from HIS work, and she now has 1 1/2 hr commute every day. He refused to live nearer to her work. She works long hours as it is, but he wasn't going to compromise. Living together has exposed a lot of niggly little things in their relationship,things which other women would say, no to, she lets him get away with because they were childhood sweethearts and she doesnt want to break that fairy tale romantic image. Which is sad, because the more they stay together, the more unhappy she gets.

If you are 100% certain this is the guy you want to spend the rest of your life with, then thats fine. BUT live together first. You do not have to rush into engagement or marriage! You are still very very young, and have a whole lifetime to be married. Do not tie yourself down yet.

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