I am a 21-year-old man and I have been going out with girlfriend who is 20 years old since high school for about 4 years. We’ve been seeing a lot of each other and it seems like the next step is either moving in together or getting married and I don’t feel I am up to the task. I feel that everyone thinks its only a matter of time before we’re married. I love her but I feel I am not matured enough. I am trying to tell my girlfriend that we’re still young and don’t have to tie ourselves into the marriage knot – not now. I still feel like an overgrown kid at heart. I feel marriage is so serious that it takes all the fun out of a relationship. We get along fine and we’re both not heading for university or anything like that. I am learning a trade and she is working as a waitress. We’ve got to be sure that enough money is coming in. I feel the pressure coming on and I feel like ending it and see what happens. I don’t know what else to do here. She thinks I don’t love her enough and she calls me immature at times and I am just leading her on and that jazz. Can you give me some words to help me out with my girlfriend? She seems to think that at 20 she’s old and wants family and all that stuff which I can’t see myself shouldering at this time. I might as well bow out gracefully.
One thing you are certain of is that you are not ready for the responsibility of marriage and family. It is important that you know that and not be led into something that you’re not ready for because it is a recipe for disaster later on.
I think the best thing to do is to be honest with your girlfriend and tell her you are not ready for marriage and what kind of time line you’re looking at as to when you’ll be ready. Maybe this is not the woman you might want to marry anyhow and you have to be honest with yourself about this. Most men are mentally ready for marriage and family I’d say in their late twenties. You might want to suggest a trial separation, agree to date other people and see what happens. This may give a clue whether either of you are really in love with each other or just dating and filling time. Bottom line is your girlfriend cannot force you to marry her. You have a right to say no thank you not now. Sorry can’t be of more help.
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It’s almost Christmas and the dread is overtaking me. The dread of our once or twice a year family dinners. Everybody is expected to attend. It’s nice to be with my folks and to see my nieces and nephews but my siblings are boring. All they could talk about is their acquisitions, be it new home, new car, new this or that and all their accomplishments. My parents, like any parents bask in their accomplishment. I usually do not have much to contribute to these discussions except talking about my ex-husband and whether the child support payments he owes me will ever be paids. I had a nervous breakdown after my separation four years ago and since then I have not been able to hold on to any job for any amount of time. My siblings think that I am just plain lazy and don’t want to work. I am wallowing in self-pity and I have to pull up my bootstraps. They make sure they give me practical gifts and money because I am always short. I feel awful for myself and my children because they feel kindda bad too because they are not involved in the extra curricular activities like my nephews and nieces. They have to work to help make ends meet in our home. I am thinking of increasing my medication just to prepare for Christmas. I feel like such a failure to myself and my children especially.
When we are not with my siblings we have a great time together. There is a lot of love and care among us by ourselves but I can’t keep them away from their family. I like the fact of having a large extended family. I have two sisters and a brother. They have four children each. But God oh God, sometimes I can’t stand them. They make me feel bluesy.
Families are good but sometimes they can be a pain in the neck. It is true holiday times bring out the best and the worst in them. It is a time of sharing and celebrating. It is obviously hard on you and I wonder why are you choosing to go to these events that leave you feeling so badly. Sometimes we have to grow up and leave toxic situation. Perhaps you can form your own family of close friends and people who support and appreciate where you are at and who make you feel good about yourself. Perhaps if you take a stand your family will sit down and listen to how to feel and be a little more considerate. If you can swing it try doing something different this year with just you and your children and see what happens. Good luck. Families are something we can’t live with or without.