Dear Carolyn:

I've been dating my boyfriend for three years; we started going out in college and have both since graduated. Now we are talking about moving to a new city together, with plans to share an apartment. I am so excited about it!

The problem is my mom. She keeps telling me I should see other guys, because I can't possibly know he's the one when he's been my only real boyfriend. Today was the kicker: She cut out an article about women who are "single by choice" and left it on my pillow!

I've told her it hurts my feelings when she does and says these things. I think she is partially bothered by the fact that he doesn't make as much money as I do. Other than that, I don't know why she's so adamant -- it's clear that I'm crazy about him and he makes me really happy. How can I make her see that I don't want anyone else?


Don't worry, she sees it just fine. That's exactly what has her so freaked.

In fact, the problem isn't that she's missing your point, it's that you're missing hers. You're casting about for alternative explanations when she has already told you exactly what's bothering her and "why she's so adamant": You're settling down with someone very early in life, when you have scant experience to inform your choice.

I know, I get it, you're happy. And I'm happy for you. And you just might stay happy. But it's not wise to assume your happiness now will automatically translate into happiness later when there's a good chance you still have a lot of growing to do. Your mother is right about this.

Then again, being 22 or 23 itself isn't wise. I suspect she's forgotten that the only reason she has the wisdom she does about your relationships is that she was once 22 or 23 and making decisions about her own relationships that didn't always turn out to be wise.

And that's where you have room to get through to her. Tell her you (now) understand her distress. Tell her she's right that you're young and have few points of reference and it may well be that he's not the guy. (Never underestimate the power of prostrate surrender.) Then explain to her that you're an adult now -- the adult she raised and now needs to trust. Explain that even if the move is a mistake, it's your mistake to make.

Then kiss her cheek and say, "Thanks for the article, Ma."

Dear Carolyn:

What kind of repercussions can you feel in a relationship if your physical part moved a lot faster than the emotional?

New Jersey

That you're sleeping with someone you don't really like.

I suppose you had something more specific in mind, like that you don't trust each other or you have a lot of petty little fights or you find out she talks to her stuffed animals (or worse, they talk back) -- but any specifics are just hairs on the same gorilla. When you get involved with someone you don't really know, you leave it up to chance whether you ultimately have more in common than sex. In a way, "love at first sight" just means you got lucky twice.

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