Ask Kathy B: Too young for love?

Question: Hello Kathy B,
I’m in two states of mind and I don’t know what to do. I’m 18 years old and I have been with my 23 year old boyfriend for 16 months, we have a good relationship, there are no worries there, but he thinks I am ‘the one’ and is not afraid to discuss marriage etc. One side of me thinks he is the one too as I love him heaps and can see myself with him for the rest of my life. However, the other side thinks I’m way too young and maybe naive, as he is my first boyfriend and he is all I know love to be. He has been in a long term relationship before so he tells me this is how he knows I’m the one … but I have not, which makes me feel a lot less experienced. In my ideal world I would go on a break so I could get out there and experience more (I don’t mean sleep around or even be with other people) just live my life as a single 18 year old for a while and then maybe I will learn that he is the one, right for me etc … and I will also appreciate him a lot more too.

As an 18 year old (just finished high school last year) I think I am way too dependant on my boyfriend, I have lost many friends because of our relationship and also am not very happy when I am away from him … are these just signs of being in love and I?m paranoid … or are all these feelings trying to tell me, I need to be complete within my self first before I can be with anyone else?? Thank you for reading and I would really really love it if you could reply. Thank-you so much.

Kathy B: It is easy to get maneuvered into a long-term relationship, without ever asking yourself if it is what you really want. He may be a lovely guy but you need to listen to your heart and by the sounds of it your heart is telling you that this relationship isn?t completely right, at least for now. It worries me that you said you have lost many friends due to your relationship. Is this because none of your old pals felt comfortable around him or did he encourage you to drop them? Is it because he?s trying to control your life or was the change part of a natural progression and you?d be feeling this way no matter who you were dating? You?d be very wise to visit a relationship counselor to talk through your issues ? alone or together. If he is the man you are meant to be with you look at changing the power structure in your relationship. You need to feel like you are free to express yourself, have fun on your own and follow your own dreams without his wishes for your relationship overshadowing everything. If he isn?t the guy you are meant to be with, it wouldn?t do you any harm to speak to a counselor about what you feel is wrong with the relationship and how you can work on incorporating boundaries into any future relationships so you don?t feel overpowered. Visit the Australian Psychological Society website www.psychsociety.com.au
or call tel: 03 9663 6177 for some numbers for local counselors. If he is the one and you talk to him honestly about your feelings then he?ll be just as concerned as you are about you having the space and time to grow into the woman you are meant to be.

Kathy Buchanan is the author of Charm School: The Modern Girl’s Complete Handbook of Etiquette and Quit for Chicks. Charm School offers fun but helpful advice on why manners are sexy and how to use them to create the life you?ve always dreamed of. It deals with difficult love, social and work situations like how to ace an interview, help a friend through a difficult break-up, handle cheating flat mates, keep your hairdresser faithful and how to not fall in love with gorgeous gay men. Charm School: The Modern Girl’s Complete Handbook of Etiquette Penguin. RRP $24.95 but only $22.46 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop

Quit for Chicks is a how to quit smoking support guide for women, with a foreword from supermodel Sarah O?Hare, Penguin, RRP $9.95 but only $8.96 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop

If you want Kathy B to answer your relationship dilemmas, email feedback@shesaid.com with your question.

Ask Kathy B: Secure in coupledom
Ask Kathy B: Stay or go?