Am I too young to live with my boyfriend? I am 19, and he wants us to move out of our parents’ homes and get an apartment together. We both go to SAC and work part-time. My parents said that if I do well for my first two semesters in school, they will pay my rent in addition to my tuition till I graduate if I want to move out. They are OK with me moving in with my boyfriend, but I wonder if it’s a good idea. I want my own place, but I’m not sure if I want it to be with him right away. We’ve only been dating nine months. This wouldn’t be till the summer, but it just seems rushed. I feel like my parents are trying to marry me off. He’s a great guy, but I want to know what it’s like to be an adult and a woman before I settle down. How do I tell him that without hurting his feelings? How do I convince my parents that I should live alone? I want these to be the best years of my life. What do I say to get what I want?
— Growing Up Too Fast
Dear Growing up,
“What do I say to get what I want?” is a dangerous question. Are you Veruca Salt? Too young, too old, too pretty, too stupid, etc. are just perceptions. You may never really know what it means to be an adult or a woman. This is your life, not a Lifetime movie. Valerie Bertenelli is not going to one day possess your meek little-girl soul and transform your blind naivete into cold, hard wisdom embodied in a warm flower.
Clearly you believe these people don’t give a shit about what you want and so you wish for a magic phrase that will make your dreams come true. A delightful idea, but naughty, naughty, naughty. Hell is a golden palace filled with everything you ever wanted until the day you realized you were wrong. And happiness is a fickle thing until you know more about yourself.
I totally agree with you about living alone. Moving in with your boyfriend will simply make you his mother and he your father and therapy a very confusing and expensive mess for the both of you. And god forbid you take playing house so far you make a mini you or two to keep things horrific.
Tell your parents the truth. You are not ready to live with your boyfriend. Tell them that if they are nervous about you living alone, you will compromise and get a roommate. Ask them to back your decision with your boyfriend. Your general apprehension should be enough to convince them this is not a good idea. Unless they are trying to pawn you off via marriage. Best to go find a roommate pronto.
Tell your boyfriend that you want to live alone. Tell him that you think it is important for you both to live as adults outside of your parents’ homes before living together. It is developmentally important for you. Be honest. Maybe he will be mad, maybe he won’t. If he doesn’t respect your desire to allow the relationship to grow at a comfortable pace for both of you, he isn’t ready. Something you can identify with? You win either way, mostly.
It seems you may not know what you want. And that is spectacular for a 19-year-old girl. Why are you going to school? What does this relationship mean to me? Where do I see myself in a year, or 10? The answers to these questions may change every other day for half of your life, but if you are paying attention, you will only fuck up every once in a while instead of every other day.
In review, do not worry about how to get what you want until you know what you may actually want. Hindsight will determine the best years of your life, so worry less about whether it seems fun or cool or age-appropriate right now and just do your best. It’s like kindergarten, except now everyone has an opinion and you can get pregnant.
Much luck and independence,
Your Uncle Mat
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