but I feel like i made a mistake...he's 21, with a child on the way (with his ex-girlfriend) and im 18 with a younger brother who Im raising (my mother died of cancer 2 years ago, and my father i never knew because my mother was raped *concieved me* and my brothers father left my mother when she told him she was pregnant) and I really feel like it would be too much of a burden if we got married right now...
Advice of any kind would be very much appreciated.
The fact that you are posing this question - considering all that's going on - speaks volumes of your maturity level. I would ask you to consider the following:
1) You are now a mother: I don't know how old your younger brother is but life circumstances have dictated that you are the caretaker and provider for this boy. My heart goes out to you - you're very young to have this type of responsiblity. You will help shape who this boy becomes.
2) Your boyfriend is about to become a father - with another woman's baby: I don't know how all that went down but I'd wonder a few things about his reliability, considering he is your boyfriend of "two years." I'd tell him the same thing about making choices while considering his baby. What about the ex? How does she feel about all of this and is it possible there could be more drama brought into your already complicated life? I also wonder why he picked now to propose to you with all that's happening.
3) You're both still very young: What's the rush? If you two feel strongly that you want to be together, can't it wait until things settle down a bit for both of you? Does he realize that if he marries you, he'll have some responsibility and play a father role with your brother? How is he with that?
I always encourage my therapy clients to listen to their instincts - which can be important internal messages trying to guide our decision making in some way. I will tell you the same thing. What is your gut telling you about getting married at this time in your life? I suspect you already have your own answer.
Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
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Marriage is a very significant change in any person’s life, carrying with it important responsibilities. You are mature for your years considering the duties associated with raising a younger brother that you have taken on. At 18 years you are barely into the age that anyone would describe as young adult yourself.
Saying yes to getting married does not mean that you have to actually go through the legal process anytime soon. Saying yes simply means you are now engaged.
I definitely advise putting off the actual date of the marriage until later. How much later?
Wait until the new baby is born, and see what the child care arrangements will be, e.g., will the child stay with the mother or with the father, or joint custody? If the father has full or joint custody, you can get a feel for how it would work out, and how much of a role you will be willing and able to play in the life of the new baby.
You can discover how you are with the new baby, how much you want to be responsible for the child’s care, how much the father actually contributes to taking on that responsibility, sharing of child care and other homemaking tasks.
You can also get a feel for how all of this will affect your brother. Understand that the effect of brining two new people into his life will be a major adjustment for him as well as yourself.
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