Deborah is 21 years old, in love with her boyfriend of six months. He got a great opportunity at work (but he has to relocate), and has said that he doesn’t think they will work out if she doesn’t move with him. This is taken from Dr. Laura’s “Call of the Day” page.
Dr. Laura: Say goodbye. Say goodbye.
Deborah: For real?
Dr. Laura: Yes, come on. First of all, you don’t give up your life knowing a guy for six months. That’s silly. You don’t really get to know him until after about two years. Takes that amount of time to see how a man functions in many different circumstances, and with your family and friends and when problems arise and illnesses and stuff, it takes a long time to know somebody well enough to think, “this is a wise choice.” But any woman who goes traipsing after a guy immediately loses his respect.
Dr. Laura: Good luck. He should definitely take the job.
Deborah: Now he’s going back on his word and saying that he’s sorry, and that he loves me, and that he would choose me over the job because there will be other opportunities.
Dr. Laura: Tell him not to do that, he shouldn’t be choosing you over the job at 21.
Deborah: Right. This sucks. Yeah. I should say goodbye to him.
Dr. Laura: You know how many boyfriends I can remember that I said, “I think this is the one?” I would have been married ten times. It’s just part of being your age. We’ve all been there, and one day you’re going to say to some young woman you’ve been there.
Truth be told, I was expecting this to be slut-shamey, but it bothered me for entirely different reasons. The woman is looking for advice, and Dr. Laura’s advice is “don’t trust yourself.”
I agree that getting married at 21 can set a couple up for difficulties. But Deborah isn’t looking to get pregnant, she isn’t even talking about getting married – she’s looking at relocation. Relocation is a big deal. But it’s a reversible deal, and if it turns out to be a mistake, it will be a great lesson for Deborah and there may be a world of opportunities and adventure for her once she moves.
The worst thing that will happen if she moves is that things don’t work out with her boyfriend, and she is out a lot of money, a lot of effort, and potentially will have no place to return to, and no chance to fix things. That will suck. The best thing that will happen is that her trust in her relationship is on point, and she lives happily ever after.
The worst thing that will happen if she doesn’t is that she will spend the rest of her life thinking about what might have been. The best thing that will happen if she doesn’t is…
I’m not sure.
Heartbreak and the satisfaction of a job well done?
My advice is to go. Before she goes, though, she should have a safety net in place in case it doesn’t work out. She should apply for and find a job before she follows her boyfriend, and she should leave things on good terms with friends or family in case she has to move back in the middle of the night and has nowhere to stay. She should research things to do in the area, book clubs, cooking classes, church (if that’s her thing), any sort of group activity that will help her to start making friends.
Lots of people get married at 21 and later divorce. Lots of people get married at 21 and stay together forever. If Deborah has faith in this relationship, she doesn’t have to jump at the first sign of a potential bump in the road. Just because Dr. Laura wanted to marry a billion guys when she was 21 doesn’t mean that Deborah is making the same mistakes; even if she is making the same mistakes, she should be allowed to make them. If she doesn’t learn for herself, she will never really know for sure.