This week I’m talking about dating a minor, what to do when your parents don’t agree with your choices and whether you should live together before marriage.
If you would like any advice, feel free to message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.
In this edition:
Question: He’s 17, I’m 21. I never expected to like a lad younger than me. How do you feel about it?
We met at work. We didn’t even realise we were starting to like each other. After being in a long relationship since I was 17, I need someone to have fun with. We are from different walks of life but we get on amazingly.
Answer: The problem is, at least in the UK, this lad is legally considered a minor (i.e. below the age of sexual consent) and dating a minor could cause all sorts of problems – for example with your friends, family and work colleagues.
I can tell you are smitten because you are talking as if you have no control – “I never expected to’ etc. It doesn’t matter. You’re the adult and you need to calm down and just consider the possible ramifications of this.
At 17 his emotions may be all over the place so will he see it as ‘just a bit of fun’? I’m sure you do get on amazingly but in your shoes, frankly, if you want more than just ‘banter’, I’d wait until he’s 18!
Question: How wise is it to live with your girlfriend or boyfriend before marriage?
Answer: I think a lot of people would say quite wise because you never really know someone until you live with them.
You may be amazed to discover their previously unknown annoying habits – chewing loudly, snoring, leaving wet towels on the bed… you can imagine the type of thing.
Then there are other ‘deal breakers’ – how is your partner with money? Do they want kids? Do you share the same religious beliefs?
But I think you need to have been with someone for a decent amount of time before you move in or talk about marriage.
If you meet and move in within a very short space of time, how can you possibly know if your partner is the one you want to spend your future with?
It does happen of course but generally getting to know each other properly – faults and all – seems the most sensible course of action to me.
Particularly given the exorbitant cost of both weddings – and divorces.
Question: Is it clingy to tell her that you will do anything for her?
Answer: A little. I think it’s healthier to put limits around that statement – you’ll do anything within reason. It’s certainly a romantic thing to say but nobody loves a doormat. And if you’ve only just met it does sound a little desperate.
The most important thing is how she reacts when you say it to her. Her body language should tell you whether that level of devotion is welcome or not. If she’s embarrassed – it’s not!
Question: I got into a fight with my girlfriend last night over something really petty. She told me she never wanted to talk again. Now what?
Answer: It might have been petty to you but it clearly wasn’t to her – and I think it’s your refusal or inability to recognise that which has made her so mad. You need to apologise and see if she will talk to you about what happened.
Approaching it with a “I don’t get why you’re making such a fuss” attitude is not going to get you anywhere.
I think if you’re honest you must at least have an ‘inkling’ of what the real issue is and if it’s something you’re not willing to compromise on or discuss, then you might have to kiss your girlfriend, at least metaphorically, goodbye.
Question: My parents don’t like my academic choices. What can I do?
My parents won’t let me drop a subject (maths) because they say if I do I won’t get anywhere in life. They want me to either drop out altogether or stay in the class. If I don’t make a change I won’t graduate. What can I do?
Answer: Suggest to your parents that they find you a tutor or extra teaching support.
When you say you are not coping, is it because the work is too difficult or you are anxious due to the pressure you feel your parents are putting on you? Does your teacher feel you are not coping? Are you getting bad marks?
If this is the case, then see if you can get your parents to talk to your teacher who will back you up if they think you will not pass.
I’m sure your parents want the best for you but you need a bit of outside help with this one.
Question: My husband compares my social media use as being as harmful as his recreational use of hard drugs. Is this a valid comparison?
Answer: As far as I know, social media use is not a killer. Recreational use of hard drugs quite possibly is.
I think your husband is trying to justify his habit.
How would you have responded to these questions? What would you advise someone interesting in dating a minor? I’d love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page.