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If you married young (and are still married...)


Chris in VA
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We met in college, I was 18 and he was 19. We married when I was 20 and he 21. Fertility issues kept us from having kids for seven years.

 

In September we will celebrate 39 years of marriage.

 

We worked together in college and have always enjoyed each other's company. We have no regrets. He finished his last year of college after we married.

 

My only regret would be that we spent our first 10 years on the family farm. Distance meant that I couldn't easily get a 'real' job. Looking back I wish both of us had worked elsewhere for five of those years. It would have been good for us financially and mentally.

 

I actually think marrying young can be a benefit--if the two keep looking at each other and growing together. We make an effort to not leave each other behind.

 

 

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We were barely 17 (him) and almost 19 (me) when we met as college students. 16 months later we picked out an engagement ring, but waited a few more months to officially declare our engagement. We married the summer I was 21 and he was almost 20. At that point he had a bachelor's degree and I had one semester left. People tell us these ages were young, but it didn't feel like it to us.

 

Because he was so young when he started college, he still needed some extra time to figure out the right career path for him. We ended up deciding his original major wasn't a good long-term fit, so we delayed having kids long enough for him to get a Master's degree in another field. He felt badly about "making me wait" but I was mature enough to recognize that we'd be happier in the long run if we waited for him to switch. We had our first child after our 6th anniversary (sadly I miscarried on our 5th anniversary).

 

I have no regrets about it. When we married, we already knew his schooling wasn't done after all, and we were both committed to him finishing his schooling before kids so I could stay at home and eventually homeschool. We've been married 13 years now.

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We got together when I was 15 and he was 17. We married at 18 & 21. That was a little over 13 years ago.

 

It's common to marry young in Dh's family, his mother married at 16 (getting close to 40 years together!). My mother was not happy about the idea at all (has married and split 4X)

 

Our daughter was born just before my 21st. We always wanted lots of kids.

 

It hasn't been too difficult, no more or less than any standard marriage from my observations, it is getting easier as we both mature. We definitely grew up together and I think that has been helpful in solidifying us as a couple. We are still madly in love and very happy together, not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but happy.

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Met when I was 16 and DH was 18.  Started dating when I was 20 and he was 22.  Married when I was 23 and he was 25.  I wasn't until having kids that we have really struggled in our relationship.  I was 28, and he was 30 when we had our first.  The first five years were easy breezy.  I don't have any regrets, and although we are struggling right now due to trying to balance family vs our marriage relationship, it's overall a good relationship with a lot of wonderful things about it.  

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We met at 19 and married at 21. First baby came when I was 22.

 

This is a tough question for me. We struggled.....a lot for the first 5-7 years. Sometimes, I think had we waited to marry we would have avoided so much drama between us. What changed things for the better with us was life experience and maturity. In some ways it's brought us closer to experience a lot of struggles together.

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We met when I was 20 and he was was 24. We married four months later when I was 21 and he was still 24. Considering all that happened in our first two years, I am unbelievably fortunate that we married when we did. We probably would not have otherwise. We've made it through the tough beginning and a few other very tough times (are in one now) but there is no one else I would rather go through it all with. Most of the tough stuff would still have happened to us even if we didn't marry. We just wouldn't have had each other to get through it. 

 

 

ETA: Wanted to add we've been married 18 years. 

Edited by Joker
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High school sweethearts.  Met the first week of our junior year at a boarding high school.  Dated through the rest of high school and college.  Got married six months after graduation.  Had some rough times early on - too immature I guess.  We didn't have kids (on purpose) for five years until I finished grad school (he finished his PhD three years later with one child).  We grew up together though health scares (Hep B), solo trips to Japan (him) and Israel (me) ETA: also Hurricane Katrina, and grad school (both of us); we also became Orthodox Jews together, so between marrying young and becoming religious, I think we are together for the long haul, please G-d.  It will be twenty years in December.

Edited by YaelAldrich
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Started dating at 19. Married at 22. I go back and forth. I do wish we had waited and done it on our own timeline. We didn't want to live together and deal with family freak outs. If we had just lived together, we might not have stayed together. We didn't have children until 28. That additional stress might have ended our relationship if we hadn't built the foundation.

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Relationship at 17 and married at 19. DH was 23 and 24, so a little older but I've always been pretty old for my age as an oldest and an INTJ. Our first year of marriage was like one long honeymoon. Adding a kid in at just over a year shook things up but we adjusted. We were set up fairly well financially at the beginning thanks to my Dad putting a lot of pressure on DH lol. I wasn't thankful at the time for it but I see now why he did it. We've been married almost 9 years now and I've never doubted I married the perfect man for me and we have a pretty awesome marriage I think (but not without its difficulties at times as well).

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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DH and I are almost the same age. We started dating at 15 and married at 20. If anything, I wish we could have married earlier. We've been married 18 years now. We fit together well and didn't really have troubles/surprises early in our marriage. 

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Met at 22 (me), 25(him). Married in less than a year from meeting 23(me), 26 (him).

 

I wish we'd dated/been engaged longer. I don't know that we would have gotten married if we had. 

 

There were some major deal breakers that I didn't know about him until after we married that still cause problems.

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We were 17 and 18 when we met because he was a college dorm mate of my hugh school sweetheart.

19 and 20 when we started dating. After 7 weeks in it was serious and we decided not to see anyone else.

21 and 22 when we eloped- it was exactly 2 years after things got serious when we eloped.

We are approaching the 15 year mark now.

 

It's worked out for us. In hindsight, we could have waited longER and that would have been good in someways but had we done that we wouldn't have our 13 year old son so I wouldn't change anything. Our son was born 16 months after we got married. I've had extensive fertility issues and we are fortunate that he came along and surprised us.

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Our families have known each other since we were very young.

He showed interest in me when I was 17, he was 21.

Married at 18 and 22.

Been married for 28 years.

 

We'd chose that path again in a heart beat - and hope we could skip some of life's tougher curve balls and a few heartaches we've navigated together.  Those issues are just life, and not because of getting married young

 

We've been blessed to be the very best of friends - we not only love each other, but we like each other too.

 

ETA: children came to us later in life, despite wanting to having them much sooner.

Edited by Tuesdays Child
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met when I  was  17 and he was  20,  married at 19 and 22. 

Married for 27 years (28 coming up).  i would do it again, but some things different.  not waiting different, I would still get married at 19.  I would be more patient earlier on, more kind and less selfish.

 

forgive, love is a choice

 

when I say forgive, I am talking about he little grievances.  Small things like not throwing their clothes down the chute and leaving the loose change on the floor. Choose to not be angry and bitter about those things.\]

 

I recommend truthfully consider the marriage vows and evaluating the future spouse this way

 

--- better and worse.  the worse will come....will you truly love this person in the worst? 

 

for richer and for poorer....if you are poor for a time? will you love this person no matter how financially secure you are?

 

in sickness and in health--if he/she is medically disables, if he/she becomes depressed?  if they have cancer?  if you have to take care of this person will you be able to do it in love?

 

 

 

i got it when I was young, but it wasn't until living that i understood it. 

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Similar experience here Rosyl. I remember our pastor saying to us, during pre-marital counseling, that we are vowing to love the other even when we feel like we hate them.

 

That has rung in my ears a few times! ;)

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Met (as in dating) and married when I was 20 - he was 22/23.  Thinking back we dated for 4 months before we got engaged and then went another 3 months until the wedding.  I went from thinking he was an arrogant snob to, well, thinking he's a wonderful guy worth spending the rest of my life with.  He went from being in love to staying in love.

 

No regrets.  We're still soulmates.  Neither of us can imagine ourselves with anyone else.

 

We lived in the same dorm in college. I might have known "of" him before he asked me out the first time, but I wouldn't have been able to pick him out and introduce him to anyone.  He, apparently, liked me for a far longer time beforehand. He also stayed persistent after I thoroughly rejected him after that first date.  He lured me in via $$... inviting me out to eat back in the days when college food left a bit to be desired, but restaurants cost $$.  From meals out we moved on to walks, then short trips, then longer trips and found out just how similar we are.  He also has changed a ton and lost that arrogant snob quality.

 

I'm glad we didn't wait.  We knew enough at that point to be sure, though honestly, had he not changed I don't think the marriage would have lasted.  His changing has made all the difference.  That change, of course, started before we got engaged, but it continued on through the first couple of years of marriage (as I would point out when he was being unreasonable and suggest alternatives).  Had it just been puppy love causing him to change rather than real, I doubt I could have lived with it for long.

 

(It wasn't just me thinking he was an arrogant snob.  He was voted "Most Likely to Get Shot By His Own Troops" as a senior superlative in college... now he's loved by pretty much everyone - friends, acquaintances, and co-workers.  I'm better with "teens" than he is.  He's far better with "people" than I am - esp in difficult situations - a considerable change.)

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Forgot to add... we waited 4 years to have kids, so were still relatively young at that point.  I was 24 for my oldest and 28 for my youngest.  No regrets there either.  It seemed like perfect timing.  It leaves us relatively young with empty nesting now too - a nice perk.

 

We'll be celebrating our 28th anniversary (on a short trip) next week.  We take a trip every year on our anniversary.  It's rarely to anywhere super special.  This year we're heading to a dog racing track since we both love dog racing, but it's not surviving as a sport in these days of casino gambling, so we might not have similar chances in the future.  It's a nice way to reminisce our "old days" together.  :coolgleamA:

Edited by creekland
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Hubby and I met in college (18-19? It's hard to remember exact timing!) and got married at 22, kind of a "graduation gift" of sorts  :lol: 

We didn't intend on having kids immediately or waiting, but God's timing had us married for 4 years before getting pregnant. We're celebrating 10years of marriage this August and I wouldn't change our experience for the world!

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Met at 21/24   married 23/26 married 26 years but a lot of my friends married at 19/20  one was divorced at 22 years of marriage.

 

Now my parents, although this should not be in the statistics of today, met at 15/17 married at 17/19 have been married over 50 years but that was a very different generation.  I love that they are still so in love and take care of each other as they now both aging fast and have trouble getting around.

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Met at 15/16. Were long distance but dated a little. We went to college and dated there and were married at 20/21. Our first child was 22/23. We've been married 10 years.

 

No regrets about timing. Marriage is hard, but I feel like we handled the poverty of undergrad, Med school, and training well. I think we timed our kids well. I'm glad that we will still be fairly young when they are grown. Dh and I are both oldest children so we butt heads sometimes and have weathered health and mental problems. But I would make the same choices again.

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Forgot to add... we waited 4 years to have kids, so were still relatively young at that point.  I was 24 for my oldest and 28 for my youngest.  No regrets there either.  It seemed like perfect timing.  It leaves us relatively young with empty nesting now too - a nice perk.

 

 

 

This was our plan, too.  We married when I was 19 and had our first child when I was 23, then twins when I was 26.  Then my daughter showed up when I was 34.  We've been married almost 30 years and still have childcare issues and parenting is such a big part of our lives/relationship.  We adore our daughter and are glad she's here, but the surprise baby has definitely been hard on our relationship.

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I think marrying young is not an issue.

 

But, for women who are planning to pursue an advanced education (and I know that isn't everyone but it was my experience and hope will be Dds), I think marrying before you have finished your education (undergrad at least) is important. And, I think waiting to have kids until you've finished your graduate education is important.

 

We married at 21/22, finished education, then had kids 27/28, married 23 years.

 

I have watched too many friends and family lose a spouse, have a spouse turn out to have mental health problems, or have a spouse with substance abuse problems to not feel that every woman needs to have the education to support herself/kids if life doesn't turn out how you planned.

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It's interesting that a lot of people married on the young side but waited a few years to have kids. We did too and I'm glad. A lot of the people I know who got married later felt that they had to get going on kids right away so they went from married to married with kids within two years. Because we married young, we were able to be married for several years and felt our marriage get more stable and solid over that time before having kids and still had our kids in our 20's (though late 20's - and dh just got them in under the wire). I think that was a positive thing.

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Started dating when we were 16, lived in different towns until we were 19, married after college at 22, married for 20+ years. Any struggles would not have been helped by waiting; it was better that I had him with me!  :)

 

ETA: My parents were married as teenagers in less than ideal circumstances and are still happily married 45+ years later. I would be perfectly happy for my daughter to marry young.

Edited by MercyA
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You have a selection bias inherant in your question, because you aren't getting feedback from those who married young and then divorced. Those whom I have known who were negative towards young marriage were usually divorced.

 

We met when I was 19, but DH is 8 years older. I was 23 when we married. My main wish in the early years was this: I wish he had lived on his own instead of with his parents. He had no sense of reality about how hard it was to survive without parental beneficence. I remember he didn't think much of my "cooking" skills, but he also had no idea how hard it was to afford nice food. So, yeah...I ate a lot of bagels, which he was disdainful about, but buying bacon and eggs was not feasible for me.

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My best advice is that both parties be absolutely committed to smart, conservative finances and not get into or stay in consumer debt. It dogs you for years and years and is awfully hard to get on top of once you have kids to provide for.

 

Your comment reminded me of this comic I saw yesterday. Be sure to click on the red button at the bottom of the comic.  :D

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Met online when I was 16ish at niche writing/roleplaying group [a niche in a niche really], started online dating several months later when I was 17, he stopped it after a couple of months, started dating online again about 5 months after that, met in person weeks after becoming essentially homeless upon graduation, he asked me to marry him and not return to the US about 1.5 months after that and we eloped when I was 18 about...4 months later. We've been married almost 13 years. 

 

Yes, the first couple years were hard - immigration is a painful, scary process, we were living on so very little, J needed knee surgery when O was months old and starting having still unexplained blackouts, and so many other challenges...but I don't think being older would have helped - actually, thinking about it, it would have made it harder. I know emotional maturity and coping all that [though I lived essentially on my own since I was 14 and as a child abuse and neglect survivor my development is still really screwed up], but the day-to-day stuff would have been so much harder because any later and I don't know if we could have survived and gotten through the various law changes and policy changes of that time period. 

 

Literally, what we did was no longer legally possible a couple years later due to immigration law changes - young married people were literally kicked out of the UK from being caught up in the change where marriage visas required both partners to be 21, the government office where we were able to get Child Tax Credit that we had to live on for a couple months shut down a few years back...we couldn't really do now what we did then even with what we earn now which is substantially more because the thresholds from everything from immigration to help is so much harder to do now. With all the extra maturity in the world, I'm not sure I have the energy now to go through the system as I did then and I know as we are now we would not meet current requirements. 

 
J and I discuss this quite a bit - how the slightest thing would have utterly changed everything and how different it all is now. While it would have been great to have better self-knowledge and emotional maturity and everything back then -- I still wish more of that now. We were always going to grow and become different over time whether we married then or faced being unable to marry later, we're thankfully very good at long philosophical discussions and coping with identity and worldview changes/crisis which really helps us. 
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Not me, but my parents.  I don't know exactly at which age they met, but they were married at 18/19 (mom/dad).  I am guessing they met at 17/18.  Pretty sure it was not before then, but I don't know.  They were married until my mother died at age 49.  So a bit over 30 years. 

 

They weren't unhappy that they married each other.  Nothing like that.  But one thing they told me many times was do not marry that young.  They said especially in the beginning it was financially direly difficult and that I should be more financially secure or have an education/career first. 

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What age were you when you met your spouse and started dating (I mean, you might have known them for a while, but if you met and started dating, what age?)--And do you wish you'd waited a bit? Did you have struggles as a young married that you think waiting would have helped with (would you have developed maturity if you'd waited)?

 

Nosy, I know.

Haven't read anything else so don't know where this has gone, but I'll answer the OP.

 

I was 16, he 19 when we met. We married four years later with me 20 and he 23. We both wish we wouldn't have married. We waited four years, so we knew each other, but we were still so young and we changed so much. We are totally different people who would never pick each other now. Neither of us are happy though we do love each other. We keep trying though, for the sake of our commitment to each other and our children. I would never recommend to my children to get married young. I would actively discourage them from doing so. I hope they're at least mid-20s before making a commitment that I hope will last a lifetime.

 

ETA: we've been together 20 years now, married 16.

Edited by Kathryn
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What age were you when you met your spouse and started dating (I mean, you might have known them for a while, but if you met and started dating, what age?)--And do you wish you'd waited a bit? Did you have struggles as a young married that you think waiting would have helped with (would you have developed maturity if you'd waited)?

 

Nosy, I know.

 

DH and I met when we were both 15, and began dating when we were both 16; we knew each other as acquaintances for 6 to 8 months, then as friends for 3 to 4 months before we started dating. We married later on, at 21; I had graduated college, he had a year left, although we took a one year break as we had our oldest son just before we married. *note: the pregnancy/birth was not in any way related to us actually getting married; we had long planned on marrying, and the pregnancy changed zero about that, except perhaps timing. 

 

Do we wish we'd waited? On dating..? Definitely not. On marrying...? Definitely not (and not because of the baby, either). Both of us, at separate times, have in fact admitted the opposite -- we wish we'd have gone ahead and married sooner rather than later. We had wanted to, had planned to, our parents of course worked to convince us to wait until after college, but both of us, in hindsight, wish we would have just married sooner. 

 

Struggles....no, I don't think waiting any longer would have helped with any of the struggles we had. Of course we had limited finances the first few years (dh took a year off school and worked while I was home with our son, then we returned for him to finish school and I worked part time), but nothing major. We lived on the cheapest ground beef and hamburger helper that first year, and we did receive WIC & Medicaid for our son, but we weren't "poor" in the sense of being late with bills, or not knowing where we'd have money for the next meal, or wondering if the electric would be shut off, or the water, or having to choose which medicine to buy or getting down to only the WIC items in the house, or....we never had extras in the early years, but we always had enough. 

 

Relationship struggles....we did go through a period of separation, before we were married, that lasted about 10 months. We both acknowledge it now as the hardest thing we went through as a couple, and the most important thing. A lot of self discovery, self growth, soul searching, maturing, etc. happened for both of us during that time (and was the reason for the separation). While we both, prior to that, had wished we could have married sooner....we both also acknowledge that, if we had, that might have been a bad decision.

 

These same issues that plagued us during/leading up to the separation would likely have still been there, and maybe even more pronounced, if we had married even earlier. The biggest concern was that we both, but me especially, lost a sense of individuality. I really felt like "ReaderChemist'sGirlfriend" vs just plain "Reader" by myself, and didn't quite know who "Reader" was anymore. Same for him, but he didn't admit that until after we were separated. So, that would still have been there....but with no way to stop and sort it out. 

 

It wasn't really an issue of maturity, though, more of how completely we each wrapped ourselves up in the other. Much more a personality thing than a maturity thing; if we'd met & married even later, very likely we'd still have gone through the same. Bottom line, though, I'm grateful we took the time out to stop, fix it, be ourselves for a bit w/o the other one, and come to the realization that yes, together did in fact make us stronger. 

 

Nor do we regret having our son when we did; I know that's not a popular answer to that part, but for us, it's true. I don't recommend it, but I definitely don't regret it. 

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You have a selection bias inherant in your question, because you aren't getting feedback from those who married young and then divorced. Those whom I have known who were negative towards young marriage were usually divorced.

 

We met when I was 19, but DH is 8 years older. I was 23 when we married. My main wish in the early years was this: I wish he had lived on his own instead of with his parents. He had no sense of reality about how hard it was to survive without parental beneficence. I remember he didn't think much of my "cooking" skills, but he also had no idea how hard it was to afford nice food. So, yeah...I ate a lot of bagels, which he was disdainful about, but buying bacon and eggs was not feasible for me.

 

DH and I married young...but he was even younger when he married his first spouse, and that ended in divorce after just a couple of years. It was also a military marriage and his ex wife had NO IDEA what she was getting in to there.

 

My sister who eventually married her high school sweetheart was also quite young when she married her first husband...that lasted 12 years and ended because of her ex's drug use mostly.

 

And my GF, who also eventually committed to her high school sweetheart (my DH), in the interim married, again young, and that ended in separation and eventually divorce when her ex DH wanted to remarry.

 

People I know who married young whose marriages are solid were pretty mature to begin with.

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I will add that we came from very different backgrounds. Very. And while we were idealistic teens/young adults together, we've both become more identifiable with our backgrounds as we age. That makes us very different in thoughts on parenting, education, finances, politics, medical care, etc. Absolutely everything is a struggle. We just don't share any of the same values besides loving our children.

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I think marrying young is not an issue.

 

But, for women who are planning to pursue an advanced education (and I know that isn't everyone but it was my experience and hope will be Dds), I think marrying before you have finished your education (undergrad at least) is important. And, I think waiting to have kids until you've finished your graduate education is important.

 

If someone really wants a graduate or professional degree, that person will find a way to make it happen- married or single, parent or childless. I'm glad that I didn't go to grad school in my 20's because if I had, it would've probably been the wrong field and a waste of several years and tens of thousands of dollars. I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career until last year at age 38. The field that I'm going into is not something I would've had the patience for without having had the experience of raising a special needs child.

 

I haven't been accepted to grad school yet, but I have a 3.95 GPA in my 2nd bachelor's and strong GRE scores so I'm feeling pretty confident that I will get in somewhere.

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We met, started dating, and got engaged when I was 19 and dh was 24. We planned the wedding for after my birthday, so dh would not be marrying a teenager. :) Our first child was born when I was 22. I have no regrets. It has been lovely. I can count on one hand the number of arguments we've had in ten years of marriage. As someone else said, we did not have any of the struggles of older couples who are already set in different ways. For a mature young person with a clear view of what they want in their future and in a spouse, I don't think there's any reason to put off marriage if they've found the right person.

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I married young, and I don't regret that. I also had my children before I finished college. I didn't have the drive or confidence, and I changed my major several times. I still wouldn't finish what I had started.

 

I wouldn't say I regret having children and not finishing college because I am happy with my life. I would say it isn't wise. I come from a highly educated family, but it was common for women to finish degrees after their children were grown. I'll be back to college in my early 40's I'm sure.

 

So all that to say that marrying young isn't something I regret even a tiny bit. I may not have made choices that other people admire, but I have lived a beautiful life with people I love immensely. It could all fall apart, but anything could.

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  The biggest concern was that we both, but me especially, lost a sense of individuality. I really felt like "ReaderChemist'sGirlfriend" vs just plain "Reader" by myself, and didn't quite know who "Reader" was anymore. Same for him, but he didn't admit that until after we were separated. So, that would still have been there....but with no way to stop and sort it out. 

 

It wasn't really an issue of maturity, though, more of how completely we each wrapped ourselves up in the other. Much more a personality thing than a maturity thing; if we'd met & married even later, very likely we'd still have gone through the same. Bottom line, though, I'm grateful we took the time out to stop, fix it, be ourselves for a bit w/o the other one, and come to the realization that yes, together did in fact make us stronger.

 

I've always felt for me personally, I could figure out who I wanted to be as an adult precisely BECAUSE I didn't have to worry about my love life. I spent a lot of my teen years pretending to be someone else in an attempt to be attractive to boys but I never had to do that with DH. He isn't intimidated by a brainy girl with strong opinions and he WANTS me to speak up & be assertive. Because I was solid in my relationship with DH, I had the psychic energy to figure out the rest of my life. 

 

In one of my psychology courses during my 1st undergrad, there was an interesting discussion about Erikson's stages of development and that for women, the "intimacy vs. isolation" stage (finding love) often comes BEFORE the "identity vs. role confusion" (finding a career) stage rather than after. Not always, but it did for me.

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Met and started dating at 16/17. Dated long distance through college. Didn't get married until almost 10 years after we had started dating. Regrets - we should have gotten married sooner and it might have been better to have converted to the Orthodox Church before getting married rather than after.

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If someone really wants a graduate or professional degree, that person will find a way to make it happen- married or single, parent or childless. I'm glad that I didn't go to grad school in my 20's because if I had, it would've probably been the wrong field and a waste of several years and tens of thousands of dollars. I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career until last year at age 38. The field that I'm going into is not something I would've had the patience for without having had the experience of raising a special needs child.

 

I haven't been accepted to grad school yet, but I have a 3.95 GPA in my 2nd bachelor's and strong GRE scores so I'm feeling pretty confident that I will get in somewhere.

That is the flip side. I live in an area where people get married relatively late but child-care costs are very high -- a lot of women were in jobs like partners in law firms or tenure-track faculty, but scaled back or quit altogether when the first or second child was born... if you then choose to stay home with your kids (I did) you start to wonder why you got that degree to begin with. I've kept both going to some extent but it's taken a toll.

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I've always felt for me personally, I could figure out who I wanted to be as an adult precisely BECAUSE I didn't have to worry about my love life. I spent a lot of my teen years pretending to be someone else in an attempt to be attractive to boys but I never had to do that with DH. He isn't intimidated by a brainy girl with strong opinions and he WANTS me to speak up & be assertive. Because I was solid in my relationship with DH, I had the psychic energy to figure out the rest of my life. 

 

In one of my psychology courses during my 1st undergrad, there was an interesting discussion about Erikson's stages of development and that for women, the "intimacy vs. isolation" stage (finding love) often comes BEFORE the "identity vs. role confusion" (finding a career) stage rather than after. Not always, but it did for me.

 

Interesting. 

 

I don't think, for me, that it was so much about finding a career, just....because we started dating young (high school), and now (then) were in the phase of nearing college graduation, what to do, where to go, etc, yet neither of us had ever been just ourselves....and because we both are sort of "all or nothing" kinds of people.....and because he is even more that way than I am (or was)....and our "where to go next" started clashing.....and a lot of other stuff I can't really pinpoint in words....I had somewhat lost ME in the space of US as a couple. He had, too, but it took me doing the hard thing, breaking up, staying away, etc. before he realized and we both remembered (over the course of the 10 months we were apart) who we each were, ourselves, instead of who we'd shaped ourselves into over the first 3 or 4 yrs of our dating relationship. 

 

I think, for the ages we were (spanning high school and college), that's a big part of figuring all that out anyway. And starting in high school, we kept becoming who the other wanted. As you said, you spent a lot of your teen years trying to be attractive to boys....we spent our teen years becoming attractive to each other, specifically. So that, as we both grew up, and because of who we each are/were, we quickly & deeply became almost grafted into each other in a sense. Too much so, IMO, at least back then. 

 

But you're talking about the years from 16, 17, 18, 19....really formative years in a sense. We were broken up around age 20, back together at 21 and baby/married right before turning 22. But it wasn't the role confusion....just truly identity stuff. In the time leading up to our break-up, I didn't know how to make a decision without weighing it against what he would want. I didn't know how to do anything, be anything, on my own. And so I had to take a break, to figure out who I was as an individual, as a person, not a career choice but just really myself at a deep level, separate from his influence. He had to do the same. And then at the end (not a predetermined end, just we both reached a point finally), when each of us was solidly ourselves, we still came to realize that ourselves, together, was still better than ourselves, apart, and that we could be both -- ourselves and a couple; that we didn't have to lose our "self" by once again becoming a "we." 

 

I don't know....maybe this doesn't translate to other couples, at all. Maybe it was unique to our situation. Like I said, it was a personality thing more than a maturity thing, but it saved our relationship. If we'd already been married at that point, I would have felt stuck. I would not have felt, in the culture we grew up in, that divorce was an option based on those issues. I would have become bitter, depressed, angry....it would have destroyed us. Since we weren't married yet, I had the freedom to call a time out, walk away, reground myself as myself and not "his girlfriend" and then choose to go back when I was ready; that wasn't a foregone conclusion, we left it as a great big IF when we broke up. Luckily, our roads back to ourselves still led us back to each other, too. But the time not dating really did save us. 

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I spent a lot of my teen years pretending to be someone else in an attempt to be attractive to boys but I never had to do that with DH. He isn't intimidated by a brainy girl with strong opinions and he WANTS me to speak up & be assertive.

 

Hah!  This part got me thinking.  I never spent any time trying to be attractive to guys in my youth (or later).  I still don't get the part of life where females fawn over "good looking" guys and try to impress them.

 

Later on I learned that this is what attracted hubby.  He liked/likes having someone who is genuine.  He enjoys our in depth conversations and similar things.  It's ok with him that I would never win any beauty pageants and don't know a thing about fashion or style or Hollywood, etc.  His acceptance of me for who I am is what changed my impression of him - that and our having so many similar likes/dislikes and views, etc.  He didn't want me to "become a girl."  :lol:  My attraction to him came after figuring out who he was.

 

On top of that, when we were at my high school reunion a year or two back some of the guys admitted to him that he was super lucky.  Apparently, many of them had crushes on me from middle school on and I was 100% clueless.  They told him that they always liked that I was smart and fit right in as an equal with their normal "goings on" (from study groups to lunch to gym class).  I never flirted ('cause I wasn't interested in a relationship), and they obviously never had the guts to ask and see if I would date them.  It was probably a good choice on their part TBH.  I wasn't really interested in dating unless that "date" was active like hubby and I did - walks, hikes, travel, and better food than the dining hall.

 

I think many guys like it when gals don't "play the game."  Media would suggest otherwise, I know, but when one bases a relationship on puppy love, I think it's tough for that relationship to last.

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What age were you when you met your spouse and started dating (I mean, you might have known them for a while, but if you met and started dating, what age?)--And do you wish you'd waited a bit? Did you have struggles as a young married that you think waiting would have helped with (would you have developed maturity if you'd waited)?

 

Nosy, I know.

I was 16 and he was 20 when we met.  We were both dating other people and we worked together - me a part time job after school. Him a second job in between the first and classes. :)  We started dating about a year later.  We got married when we were 19 and 23.  Nope, I don't wish for a minute that we'd waited.  I dropped out of college for DD #1, DS had to finish while working a full time job, delivering pizzas on weekends, and going to school FT.  After that (thanks to student loans) he was in the Army full time and we (now with DS) tagged along.  While in, he finished his graduate degrees.

 

It was CRAZY hard.  And maybe it's my, in the rearview mirror, romantic coming out, but I honestly think we met before we were so set as individuals and so we just grew together. ;)  He was not immature - I was incredibly so.  Keeping him.

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Looking back, the only thing I would do differently would be to remain a full-time student and get my degree before working full time.  I moved with dh for him to start law school right after marriage, and got a full time job to lessen our debt load, while still taking classes part time to continue working on my degree.  Ten years later, I am almost done!  Looks like I will finally get my degree this coming school year!  (There were years in between when I wasn't doing classes at all, either because we had no income to pay for it, or for a few years when complicated pregnancies and ds's medical issues took all my resources.)  In retrospect, I would have traded the difference in law school debt for just having it done with, instead of trying to balance homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, and schooling myself all at the same time.

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