How to break the news???

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
How to break the news???
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 3:27pm

Hi everyone. (Ok, this is a brief overview for those who don't know/remember my story. If you *do* know, then feel free to skip to the next paragraph.) I've got parents that hate my SO b/c he's 11 yrs older than me. They kicked me out shortly after I turned 17, we've been together a year in August, when I'll turn 18. We're also engaged, have been since X-mas. (I know that sounds incredibly quick, but we've known each other for 2 years, and I knew it'd be a long engagement so if anything didn't feel right, I could leave at anytime.) After my dad refused to attend my graduation last month, he actually did attend :) and although he didn't speak to my DF, he did behave himself.

Well, we've decided that we want to get married in 2004, depending on how my parents react to the news. If they're moderately accepting, then we'll put the wedding off until later in the year. If they're not, I don't exactly see a reason to wait. As it is, Dad's seen the ring & I've told Mum we're engaged (she didn't take me seriously). But on my 18th birthday (August 5th) I want to officially announce the engagement to all my friends and family that come out for supper with me that night. (BTW, my friends and the majority of my family already know. Everyone EXCEPT my parents are happy for me & supportive.) Is there any point in waiting that long? I don't see them feeling differently, but some say that they will, when I turn 18. What do you guys think?

TIA, Jen

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 11:37pm
I don't think they'll react any differently after Aug. 5th than they do now - that's not a lot of time to adjust to their little girl growing up and getting a life of her own. They might react differently in a couple of years, but a couple of months and one birthday probably won't make any difference to them.

But I also don't see any reason to base the wedding date on your parents' reaction. Whose wedding is it, anyway? You should get married when YOU and your DF feel the time is right, after all, your parents are no longer supporting you, and you and DF are living together already. (Unless of course, your parents are paying for the wedding - but from your post, I doubt they are.)

I realize you probably don't want to upset your parents, but it sounds like you also are in a hurry to get down the aisle. Why not wait until 2004 - and take your sweet time planning exactly the kind of wedding you want, with all the frills you and DF want and can afford? Since you are already living together, what difference will one more year make?

I also live with my DF, and have been for 4-1/2 years. We haven't even set a date for the wedding, because, frankly, we can't afford to pay taxes as a married couple. Our incomes are moderate, but right in the middle of that d**m marriage tax penalty - it would cost us about $300 a month in additional taxes. You don't mention where you live, but if it's in the US, you and DF might check with your tax preparer for advice before you take that walk - might cost you more than you realize. Just something to think about. The marriage penalty has been reduced a little, but won't be in full effect until 2009. We're just waiting a little longer until our credit situation is more secure as single people, and until that penalty drops a little lower.

And just one more word of advice (if you can stand for me to get motherly with you up here on my soapbox), because I've been there and seen it happen too many times: You are almost 18 - and still have a lot of growing to do (I did not say growing-UP - you sound pretty mature already). I mean growing in the way that all of us do between the ages when we first become independent from our parents, and the next several years of getting accustomed to the responsibilities of it all. You WILL go through a lot of changes over the next 4-6 years, while your DH has probably already done that. This doesn't mean you won't be as well matched for each other after you've gone through those changes, it just means you have to be vigilant for any of these changes damaging your relationship with him. Be prepared for some problems and differences of opinions later that you do NOT have right now. Work on good communication skills with him now, so that the two of you can work through the changes as they come.

Been there, done that, divorced him. Loved him madly when I was 19 and he was 26, but I was still maturing, and he had already become about as mature as he would ever be. At 19/26, we were perfectly matched. At 22/29, I knew something was wrong. At 26/33, the problems were getting pretty bad - and by 33/40, they were unbearable. I grew up - he didn't. And it cost the marriage. If I had met him when I was a little older, we probably would never have fallen in love and gotten married. In hindsight, I wish we hadn't. It ruined both of our lives for a very long time.

IMHO, I see no problem with marrying an older man or woman, as long as both partners have passed that critical stage of 18-25 years of age when the biggest changes happen. Doesn't mean an 18yo can't have a successful marriage to an older person, it just means he/she has to work at it much harder than those who marry later - no matter what the age of their spouse.

I know this has absolutely NOTHING to do with what you asked and why you posted, but I saw the opportunity and had to take it. Hope it helps you to stay aware and be prepared. Maybe you can head-off the problems before they happen. I wasn't able to because I did not recognize the signs and didn't know WHY we were having the problems we did.

Best of luck to you and your sweetie!



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 2:29am

Thanks for the honest response. I *personally* don't think that I'll change from 17 & 11 months, and 18. However, it was my parents that made a big deal a few months ago about me moving back home *just til I was 18*. And all I meant about postponing the wedding for my parents was *if* they'd be more supportive with the wedding (ie pitching in financially, or at least saying that they'd attend) if it was after I turned 19, then I'd be willing to consider it.

Hope that clears it up some