Ask Feminista: How Young Is Too Young?

Dear Feminista,

 

Hi, I’m a nineteen year-old college sophomore and I really need your relationship advice! I just got out of a relationship with my first boyfriend of over a year a couple months ago and I was devastated initially because I felt like he was the one, I wouldn’t have to worry about looking around anymore, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Is it wrong for someone of my age to be preoccupied with wanting to have a good long term relationship with someone I can hopefully marry? I just really want to have a guy who will commit but it seems practically impossible for guys my own age to want to commit to even being in a long term relationship, let alone committing to marry someone… any suggestions for what I should do? I really would appreciate your input! 

Thanks for writing!!

When it comes to the question of “Wrong” or “Right”, I think it’s difficult to be completely objective. My wrong might be your right. With that said, I *do* think that 19 is a bit young to be thinking about long-term relationships and marriage and “The One”. Why? Because you’re barely a legal adult and in MY opinion, you have many other things you could be focused on as a developing young woman.

Yes, a YOUNG woman. You’re still a teenager. I have a personal rule that I don’t think people under 25 should be in serious relationships that are so heavily focused on marriage at such a young age.

You’re at an age when most women only really start to chip at the tip of the iceberg that surrounds their identity, if that makes sense. There is the “you” that you were, the “you” that you are, the “you” that you will soon become, and the “you” that you’re destined to be. Who you are now will likely be quite different than the you that you’ll be in 3 years, 6 years, 10 years, etc. What I advise women your age to do is focus on developing your own identity and a strong self-awareness. I advise that you make one commitment and that is to yourself, to create a list of personal goals (educational, career, financial, familial, aesthetic, health, etc) and begin to work on carving out the path towards achieving those goals.

The wonderful thing about healthy relationships is that having a partner is like having a built-in strengthening support system; someone always has your back. However, we sometimes slip into codependency which weakens us. It is important, in my opinion, to build YOUR foundation independently. Learn who you are, what you want out of life and from others, what you can give to the world around you and the people in it, and how having a partner fits into that paradigm (or world view). The stronger you are as an individual woman, the stronger you will be for your partner.

You’re in college. Great! Are you also working or deciding upon a career path? Thinking about children? Living alone/on campus or with family still? Can you afford to take care of a partner if he falls on hard times, be that financially, spatially, physically, or emotionally? How much of yourself can you give, at 19, to someone who might require more of you than you’ve ever experienced before?

No, it isn’t wrong to want a partner and companionship. It isn’t wrong to lament the lack of willing-to-commit men who are your age. Those are your honest feelings and you’re entitled to them. I do, however, think they’re a bit premature. I can’t presume to know your life or the circumstances that have led you to where you are. But if I were a gambling woman, I’d wager that you’re like most 19 year old women. You don’t exactly know where you’re going or what you want to do with your life. You want to be loved and love in return, but your current understandings of love will evolve and grow into something that you can’t quite wrap your mind and heart around right now. It will come though and it will be amazing, it will hurt, it will challenge you, and it will engulf you. If you find love now, let it build over time, let it simmer in a slow cooker until it’s done. By “done” I mean you have grown, he has grown, you’ve matured together and built something really strong. I think almost every woman thinks her first love is going to be “The One”; you’re not alone in that :). Focus on what you learned from that experience, the good and the bad, and when the next one comes along, use that relationship as an opportunity to learn even more about yourself and your needs. Remain flexible and keep your options open. Love will come for you and “The One” will too. You’ll fall deeply into a love that will make you the happiest you’ve ever been, I promise.

You have plenty of time for that, babygirl :)

XOXO,

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2 Responses to “Ask Feminista: How Young Is Too Young?”

  1. Pj says:

    This spoke to me. A lot.

    Thank you.

  2. Mo says:

    I strongly think that 25 is an appropriate age. People change too much from 18-24. There are significant changes in an individual’s life from high school, university, and starting career. Additionally people need an appropriate time to find themselves or they will be forever lost and dependent upon you. Personally I married my wife at 23 while I was 24. However my wife is from another Germany and was very family focused as she was raised partially in a Ghanaian culture due to being half Ghanaian. I am now 30, she is 29, and we have a beautiful one year old daughter. We were blessed to grow together but there were many lessons learned due to us being young. This is the exception as many are still searching for who they are. Keep up the great posts!

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