Young Love

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Visitor's Question:
I'm 17 and engaged to a man in the navy who is 20. He is my first major relationship, even my first kiss. My whole family is telling me that there is no way I can know that i'm in love because i have not played the field. But I know I love him.

I've got a diamond on my finger and my family still does not take our relationship seriously. They continuously try to keep me from him. How can I convince my family to quit trying to separate us?

Our Suggestion:
The point isn't that you haven't played the field. The point is that you are getting engaged to a man when you haven't really been a *woman* yet. I assume that you are living in your parents house, still surviving on your parents' incomes, following their rules and having their shelter. All you are talking about doing here is "changing parents" from the ones you have to your new guy. You never have been YOURSELF which is an incredibly, incredibly important part of becoming an adult.

Marriage should NEVER be rushed. Marriage is something that lasts 50 or more years. That is a LONG, long time. The best marriages happen when two people are fully able to live on their own but then voluntarily choose to join their lives together. The worst marriages happen when both people are incapable of surviving and cling to each other like life rafts. That second fate is what your parents are worried about.

Try to take a step back and not be defensive about this. YES you care strongly about him. YES you want to be with him forever! But part of making that WORK involve you being a STRONG and self-assured woman. And the way to show him, yourself, your parents and everyone that you ARE that is to BE that. And that involves having your own apartment, your own job, and actually living on your own and taking care of yourself.

There is NO rush for you to be "His Kept Woman". That will lessen your chances at long term happiness. Instead, INVEST this time you have now to show everybody involved - including yourself - that this is really the best thing. Prove that you can live on your own, that you are not "running to him" to be your sugar daddy. That this isn't something you're doing to "get away from the parents". BE away from your parents, BE self sufficient. If you do this for a year, you will show that your choice to be with him is to *enhance* the life you already have - not to "run away" from the life you're stuck with with your parents.

If on the other hand you demand that you must be with him and can't survive without him, you are really proving exactly what everyone currently thinks - that you are using him as a substitute parent.

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