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You Asked: Am I Ready for This?

Dear Sugar--

I have been dating my boyfriend for two and a half years now. Lately things have gotten very serious; we've been talking about getting married and having children. Up until a few days ago, I was all a twitter with our romance - I wanted nothing more to begin a life with this man.

But now I'm starting to panic. I've been thinking more and more about how young I am and how there are so many things I want to do - including growing as an independent human being - before I settle down. Part of me is so ready for this kind of commitment, but there's another part that is screaming to run away as fast as I can. I'm not sure if I'm being a commitment-phobe, irrational, or just a normal 21 year old.

I'm with the man of every woman's dreams. He is handsome, successful, romantic and I know I'll be kicking myself in the ass for the rest of my life if I let him go. Is my confusion normal? Or am I showing the first signs of a person who will head for the hills when things get too serious? My biggest fears are hurting the man I love and starting on a treacherous path of avoidance. I can't seem to get any unbiased advice around here, so I was hoping you could offer some wisdom. -- Completely Confused Cameron

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Completely Confused Cameron --

Well, you certainly have your head full of questions, don't you? You're raising a lot of very valid questions that I'm sure a lot of other women have asked themselves in your situation. You are young, but just because you're only 21, it doesn't mean that you need to go out and be wild and crazy if you don't want to be. Are you feeling like you "should" be doing x,y, and z or are you actually feeling like you want to be doing those things? Everyone is different and everyone takes different paths in life, so if you feel like you've found your mate early in life, you shouldn't dismiss it just because of your age.

If becoming an independent woman is your main concern, you can absolutely do that while being in a relationship if you just take things slow. Although you have been together for a while now, you don't necessarily need to race down to the altar. Have you voiced your concerns with your boyfriend? Is he the same age as you? Could he be experiencing similar fears?

Staying together with someone for the fear of him moving on without you isn't reason enough to be together. If you aren't getting everything you need and want out of this relationship, you need to do what feels right. Listen to your gut instinct -- are you simply having some cold feet and facing the reality that you need to start making adult decisions, or do you feel like you need to spread your wings and fly? Take a few days to be alone, reevaluate your situation, talk to your boyfriend, and do what feels right. You can't go wrong if your trust your heart. Good luck.


Join The Conversation
geekyPOP geekyPOP 9 years
omg. this is great to read. my bf and i have been together for 1 and 1/2 years and I swear that he is the one but there is no way i'm getting married within the next 5 years. This is our last year in school together, I really don't know what will happen to us after we graduate. I hate long distance relationships and I feel like I have a lot to learn on my own still. He went to another country for 5 weeks and I really got to enjoy my independence, it was lonely at first but then it became fun. But as soon as he got back, I am back to the old pattern of hanging out with him all the time again. I love having him with me but I feel like i'll never develop as a whole person while i still have him to depend on. I'm confuse as anyone ever could be, but my instincts tell me i have to let him go before i could ever marry him. I just hope that i have to courage to let the one thing i treasure so much in life go so easily. p.s. what are the chances of couples getting back together after letting go?
pookietrue pookietrue 9 years
You change so much in between 20-25. My advice would be give it a couple of years, and if you are meant to be together it will happen. I met my husband when I was 18, but I don't know if we would be together now if we had gotten married so young. Gosh, every single couple that I know that got married at 23 or younger is now divorced (i'm pushing 30). I would recommend a great book for you called "quarter life crisis." It really talks about the stage of life you are in and things to think about. You have a long life ahead of you, unless you are planning on having kids immediately, why rush it? Enjoy every stage of life as you are in it.
PopCultureJunkie PopCultureJunkie 10 years
Getting your heart broken in your late 20's and 30's and pretending it's all in good fun, Sex and the City-style... is that what you want? If you've found someone worth committing to, just thank your lucky stars and settle into your life with him. Also, no one said having a mate meant you stop being an independent person, you stop growing and learning and going after your goals. If you don't know that by now, you AREN'T ready to get married.
imLissy imLissy 10 years
i can't believe the number of people in the same situation, lol. Except I want to get married, badly. And sometimes I wonder if I want to get married because of the wedding or because I want to be with him forever, lol. And I think I'm too young to decide that now and I don't have to, so why should I? 'Course I live with him so he's not going anywhere, but still. I say, give it a while longer and see how you feel then. No sense rushing things. If he doesn't understand, which is silly because you've only been dating a year and a half, not like 5, and you're so young, then perhaps you shouldn't be with him.
ginghamgirl ginghamgirl 10 years
developmentally speaking, you're in a transitional stage in life. i'm 21 too and i feel the same way with my boyfriend, who happens to be the guy of my dreams as well. it's alright to have this feeling of wanting to run away because really, we have a lot in store for us in life. IMO, though, it's a matter of giving, taking, accomodating and compromising. we will inevitably have to sacrifice some things for our relationship--you just have to figure out for yourself what you're willing to give up. and if your boyfriend is as great as you say he is, you should talk to him about your confusion. he'll understand... in fact, he might be feeling the same thing--from there, you can try to work something out. good luck with that!
reeveske reeveske 10 years
another "same boat" gal here. in fact, he went off and left me for a job in LA, and left us to wonder what the next step was. At the time, we were together for 2.5 years and both said earlier in the relationship if a move came along, we'd break up or get engaged. when the moment came, you could cut the tension between us with knife. just cause we thought it was the next step doesn't make it the RIGHT step! so, finally my big mouth blurted out in the middle of an akwrd silence that at barely 21, I wasnt ready for a husband. We decided we'd stay together and see what happens, and now Im planning to move in with him in LA in about six months. Will i be engaged at that ponit? I don't know-and suprisingly don't care. It's our story, and we'll get engaged when we damn well please! We both know we are right for each other and will make it there eventually, but it'll be on our watch and no one else's!
Rubita Rubita 10 years
Well, I'm another "I was in that same position" commenter. Same age, dating for 2.5 years, and really everything was perfect, for what I thought I wanted at the time...I just had a feeling that there was something else out there for me, that I was missing. We grew up in the south and it seemed the EVERYONE was getting married right out of college, and were just obsessed w/ engagement and wedding stuff. I distanced myself from all of that, and started to make choices that really challenged me. Now I'm 27, living abroad, and have experienced so many things that I wouldn't have imagined back then...and am so happy now with my TRUE love! Looking back, if I married my college boyfriend, as planned, I have no doubt that it could have worked. But that life seems like a different universe to me now. If I'd taken that safe route, I wouldn't have developed into the person I am today. I'm not saying your situation is the same as mine, of course. But definitely, as Dear said, trust your instincts! It sounds like there's something else out there for you... maybe your bf will be your partner in it, and maybe not? Good luck!
arrhythmia arrhythmia 10 years
i think you should have a chat with your boyfriend to tell him how you feel. i was in that situation, until i told my boyfriend about my feelings (i'm 20 and he's 26). he's really successful and he's a great guy, but i'm not worried about him leaving me just because he'll get married later in life (around his early 30's? hahaha!). you shouldn't be afraid to tell him these kinds of things, especially when it involves both of you! :)
koolbr33z3 koolbr33z3 10 years
Yes, you can still do some of the things that you want if you are involved in a committed, loving relationship. However, love is not about being selfish. You both work to make each other better people and it does involve compromise as well. If your significant other truly loves you, he will support you and encourage you to do what you want so that you can grow as a person. It goes both ways so you should do the same for him. You definately need to voice your concerns with him because he may be totally unaware of your worries. In any case, it sounds like you have a terrific person in your life so don't let him slip away. You definitely can make it work. By the way if the idea of marriage is that scary to you right now, you should probably wait. I was with my boyfriend for nearly five years before we actually got married. Anyway, good luck to you both.
Agymgirl55 Agymgirl55 10 years
I was in absolutely the same situation!!! My boyfriend and I ended up moving in together, but we have our own rooms (although we sleep in the same bed!, when I was 21, bc we felt like we were too young to get married. I voiced my concerns to him about all the things I wanted to do with my life, and he wanted all of the same things! So I can accomplish my life goals with him as a team. We are 23 now and engaged, and I am really glad that we waited, we are getting married next summer. I know a lot of parents dont want you to live together before you are married, but it is a really good indication of what your life will be like.
ChicagoBunny ChicagoBunny 10 years
Hey! I'm in the same boat. I don't think its a good idea to go into a commitment like marriage because you fear loosing him. But I talked to my boyfriend about how I felt and I realized that we both feel the same way. Excited sometimes...and scared other times. We figure that as long as we stay together, there's no rush to get married. We know it'll happen eventually and we want it to last when it does. I say talk to him! Tell him how you feel, he might think the same things. Good luck!
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