This week’s questions revolve around the complexity of being in love at seventeen, and how long is too long to wait for an engagement ring?
Dear Mary Jo,
I’m seventeen years old and I’ve been dating a guy for four months. My mom told me I can’t date unless I’m sure he won’t cheat on me. He hasn’t yet and I want to tell my mom the truth about me dating him, but I’m afraid she’ll say no. How do I talk to her about this?
There is no way to determine if someone will cheat on you, but it’s clear your mom is concerned with your well-being and wants to protect you. I am glad you want to be honest with her and I think you should, because boyfriends will come and go but your mom will always be your mom and have your best interest at heart. At the age of seventeen it’s great to have good friends, but getting serious in a relationship is not wise because your self-esteem isn’t fully developed yet, and a healthy relationship requires emotional maturity (are you ready to accept all possible consequences that could happen with dating)? A mom’s job is to help guide her child to succeed in life, so she probably wants you to focus on your interests, your career goals and your schooling, and she understands the ups and downs of relationships. I think you should ask her if the two of you can talk, and then sit down or go for a walk and tell her your feelings for this guy. Tell her you know she loves you, but you really like him and you want to have an honest relationship with her, and not sneak behind her back. Any guy who is really interested in you and your well-being will not want to come between you and your mom.
Dear Mary Jo:
How long is too long to be in a relationship before a proposal is expected?
There is no set timeline, but I would make these suggestions. Since marriage is forever, and the majority of divorces happen within the first two years, I would take my time to get engaged. I would advise you to talk to your partner and make sure you know how to resolve conflicts, fight fair and help each other. Make sure you both understand that getting a ring is one thing; living a life where you are committed to each other in marriage every day for the rest of your life should be carefully thought about. Don’t ever pressure your partner for a ring; you will regret it either way.