18 year old rushing into marriage

<p>Hi everyone. A big drama has erupted in my house, and I am not allowed to talk about it with anyone because it is supposed to be a secret, so I thought I would post about it here to get it off my chest. I had a big post written, but I guess I'll just start with the basics.</p>

<p>By the sounds of it, next month my recently 18 year old sister is running away to get married to a marine-- she started seeing him the week before he left and has only spent three weeks collectively actually WITH him, the rest of the time he was out of state with little to no access to a means to communicate with her. He left in August.</p>

<p>My parents don't pay for college, but they had the money set aside for her community college to start her off. She says she doesn't need college, marine will take care of her. She is moving across the country to live on base with him, but he is being deployed soon and then she'll be alone. All the family and friends are in MI, she'll be in CA. She's never worked a real job, never lived on her own, never had to pay a bill-- never even seen a bill. Only just got her drivers license, doesn't own a car. Has no idea how insurance works or how much things cost. Has never been in a healthy relationship, has never been in a relationship and not cheated. Two years ago she was committed to a mental hospital for a suicide attempt, and this past fall she was sexually assaulted and now she has PTSD. And she thinks it's just going to be totally easy to move to California and take care of herself. The boy is SLIGHTLY more mature, as soldiers tend to be, but he is still only 19 years old.</p>

<p>I am pretending to be happy for her because I am told that is the right thing to do and because it is none of my business. It just makes me sick to my stomach. In this house, once you get married you can't come back-- especially if there are kids in the picture. She will be completely on her own with no education and no home to come back to if this goes south. I feel like she's ****ing her life away to play house. She has no idea what marriage even is, what it even means to be in a REAL relationship. I just can't believe she's doing this. They plan to have a court house ceremony within the next month or so, and then have a big wedding after he gets out of the service-- yeah right! Like anyone's going to come to a wedding for a couple that's already been married for five years. She is completely deluded.</p>

<p>I don't know how we as a family are supposed to get through this. There is no getting through to her, she has a complete romeo-and-juliet complex about the whole thing-- because being married to a soldier and giving up everything for your man is just oh so romantic. It's ridiculous, and there's nothing anyone can do but sit back and watch her do this.</p>

<p>I just wanted to vent I guess, I know it's none of my business and I can't let on that I feel this way, but it's hard not being allowed to talk to anyone about it. The whole family, myself included, took part in raising this one-- she was the baby of the family, and now this is what it has all come down to and there seems to be no way we can help her. We can't talk her out of it, and once she's in California there will only be so much we can do to support her. It's never been more clear just how much growing up she still has to do, and just how much support she still needs, but she's walking away. I guess I just have to learn how to disengage.</p>

<p>I'm not quite sure why you say you are told it's the right thing to do to pretend to be happy for her. Are you close with your younger sister? Has she confided in you before about personal matters? If so, then offering your opinion on the matter might be welcome. Of course you can't tell her what to do, but you can share your concerns. </p>

<p>You obviously care deeply or you wouldn't be posting here. If you 'pretend to be happy' then all she can believe is that you ARE happy about it. You won't regret trying, but you may regret 'disengaging.' Speak now or forever hold your peace.</p>

<p>I've tried bringing questions for her to think about, like what she will do if she needs something while he's gone and shes out there alone, or what she will do if it doesn't work out. She gets extremely angry and defensive and will hear none of it. My parents refuse to say a word. My mom thinks it would just drive her closer to him, which is probably true. I think the thought is that if we don't fall in line, we might lose her forever-- she'll just run away to CA and never look back. And I can't say I blame her. I'm engaged myself, but I'm four years older, have been with my partner for three years, have my bachelors, and we're waiting until we both get steady jobs to get married-- my parents are still not supportive and I told them in no uncertain terms that if they couldn't be supportive or mind their own business, they just wouldn't be involved in that part of my life.</p>

<p>Every month, dozens of these young women and men show up on bases all across the world, freshly married to a Marine. I know this from experience, my husband was an active-duty Marine for 22 years and I volunteered with family services. It's a baptism by fire to be sure but most of them make it work, somehow. Our divorce rate (meaning military families) is higher than the civilian population but, as I said, most muddle through and, frankly, come out stronger.</p>

<p>I was 19 when I married my 22 year old Marine. He had gone through college on an ROTC scholarship and just became an Officer when we married. So we were in better shape financially than an enlisted Marine and his/her spouse but we were still very young and plunged into what was to me a very strange world. It was sink or swim and I learned how to swim. </p>

<p>So, this may turn out to be a disaster or it may turn out to be the best thing that could have happened. I predict something in the middle and I think all you can really do is hope for the best. </p>

<p>If you have any questions, feel free to ask.</p>

<p>Well, maybe it will work out and she'll get the strength she's needed all along. I just hope she has the good sense to ask for help if she needs it and to wait to have kids until she's sure she doesnt, because once she does she'll be on her own-- I can't afford to help her and no one else will-- and his family openly hates her. I guess we're just in shock, she's only even been talking about this a couple weeks and now it's actually happening. We thought she was going to college, and now that it's time to register she's backing out and saying, "oh, nevermind! I'm getting married instead!" I can't help but think it's just cold feet about growing up, she's terrified of being independent so she latches onto a boy she barely knows that she thinks can take care of her and she won't have to do anything to help herself. That's kind of how she's talking. But I suppose I need to find a way to stop judging. It's just not the route you'd choose for your baby sister.</p>

<p>Is there much of a support system for these young brides when they get to the base? A lot of girls I went to school with did similar things, but I've lost touch with them all now. I don't know what it was like for them once they got there.</p>

<p>I married young, maybe for some of the reasons your sister will. Unfortunately, he turned out to be controlling and manipulative, and eventually my self esteem improved enough that I left.</p>

<p>But if he had been a better choice, I would have stuck with the marriage, even though I had not given myself more time to grow up or figure out what I really wanted or needed.</p>

<p>So there is the possibility it could work in spite of it all, if he is decent enough and she is mature enough to be supportive of him.</p>

<p>Maybe she will take college classes wherever she ends up; I too hope she decides not have kids right away. It's too bad his family is so negative about her. That can't help. I ended up liking my ex inlaws, and they were very supportive of me, even after the divorce.</p>

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Is there much of a support system for these young brides when they get to the base?

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<p>There is a lot of formal and informal support. Hopefully she'll make friends with a few of her neighbors on base who will help her learn the ropes. I hope she'll also join the spouses club attached to her husband's unit/squadron (do you know what he does for the Marine Corps?) </p>

<p>Her husband will have to teach her to pay the bills and I'm sure once she figures out how much young Marines make, she'll be on the hunt for a job and/or taking college classes. </p>

<p>I know it probably seems shocking and strange to you but this really does happen every day. Some young spouse don't make it a month before they are running back home and filing for divorce but, as I said, the majority stick it out. </p>

<p>One plus for your sister, considering her past, is that counseling is readily available on-base. There are hot-lines she can call for help anytime and they are well advertised. She'll have medical and dental insurance. She qualifies for in-state tuition where ever she lives as a military spouse. There are free classes on base for everything from financial planning to cooking on a budget to health issues to earning professional licenses. </p>

<p>If this were my sister, I'd be equally alarmed but I'd encourage her to take advantage of every benefit offered to military spouses, especially membership in support groups. Life in the military is tough, there is no way around that. But I truly believe the more connections a person make, the better they do. In my opinion, the fact that she is moving onto the base is a good first step. Those women and men who are holding down the fort for their spouses third or fourth deployment know what they are doing and, in most cases, we really do try to take care of our own. </p>

<p>Best of luck to your sister, her Marine and your family. Please feel free to ask any questions, now or in the future.</p>

<p>There are strong support systems available within the communities on the military bases, so if your sister chooses to avail herself of them, they will be there.</p>

<p>For your family, I'd suggest looking into any local or on-line organization such as Marine</a> Moms Online That has been a sanity saver for my sister the mom of one marine and mom-in-law of two.</p>

<p>Since you mentioned your sister has a history of mental illness, has she discussed her plans with her therapist? I don't know your sister but it sounds like she feels she's stuck and marrying this marine is her only option. Have you asked her what her goals are and how marriage might be helping her in achieving these goals? I would sit with her and ask her how she's feeling. What ever she is avoiding (perhaps disappointing the family by not going to school) it must be pretty scary for her if she feels her only option is to marry someone she doesn't really know and then move away from her support network. I'd try to help her see she has other options. She's 18. Lot's of 18 year olds don't go to college, some go and then need to withdraw, some go later. Just because this board is called college confidential doesn't mean its the right move for everyone. It might not be the right choice for your sister "at the moment". What else can she do that could allow her to stay near her support network and not go to college. May she would prefer to work, or volunteer, or take just 1 or 2 classes.</p>

<p>There are feelings that need to be talked about with your sister, the actions are just how she's trying to get you to understand. (IMHO).</p>

<p>can you really support 2 people on an E-1 salary?</p>

<p>just fyi, my gf's sister is 20, pregnant, not finishing college, and getting married to someone that she met via the internet while he was in Iraq (who will soon be a police officer, so at least they will have that). I think they are making a terrible decision, so obviously I think the same about your sister's situation.</p>

<p>If you could get her to make a pretend budget, using an E-1 salary, which I'm sure you can find on the internet, perhaps that will help her see how things are going to be.</p>

<p>If she has PTSD, well, the military has seen a bit of that. She might be in the best place to get help.</p>

<p>There's a good chance she'll be fine. She'll be in a supportive atmosphere with other young Marine wives. </p>

<p>One thing you said, Emaheevul-- "Like anyone's going to come to a wedding for a couple that's already been married for five years." Hmm. They can't have a wedding, since they'll already be married, but they can throw a big fifth anniversary party... and plenty of people will come. I'd go to a fifth anniversary for a couple who had had a tiny wedding in what are, after all, romantic circumstances. </p>

<p>Here's hoping fifty years from now she'll be telling her little grandchildren about how Grandpa swept her off her feet when she was 18. You can't change her mind... might as well be happy about it.</p>

<p>Sorry, really long response.. trying to reply to everybody..</p>

<p>We'd come to an anniversary party, but she thinks she's going to book a church and have a do-over wedding and walk down the aisle in the big white dress. Pretty much just because she wants to rush and get married RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Boy isn't going anywhere, other than back to CA, until at least March. He leaves for CA again tomorrow night, he came home on leave to take her to the prom. I suspect the rush is to get her out of going to school, honestly. I think she believes if she chooses not to go to school she'd have to get a full time job and support herself, and getting married will get her out of doing either. I am quite sure the possibility that she will have to get a job in California is not something she has even considered. It sounds like she thinks she is going to get to sit around the house while marine brings home the money.</p>

<p>I'm not sure what led her to do this. Our parents didn't go to college, they didn't want me to go and I forced my way through, they don't really care if she goes-- they just want her to do /something/. No one is tossing her out if she doesn't go. </p>

<p>She only sees her therapist sparingly-- MUCH to my ire. We don't have the mental health coverage and therapy has never been a priority in this house no matter what happens, she was only briefly in therapy even after her suicide attempt. The resources that she will have available to her on base are comforting. She and I both have been hard up for healthcare, especially mental health, for a long time and it's not going to get any better until we get jobs with our own benefits-- so at least she'll have them now. I just don't think this guy is a very good guy, or that he has ANY IDEA what he's doing with her, so I am not as comfortable as I would feel if he were a good guy. When they first met, the story was that he was going to go do his marine thing, and her "job" was to stay home and finish her education. He said when he could rise through the ranks a bit and get a job in the states, and when she had finished her bachelors, THEN they would get married. Now all of the sudden, it's hurry up and lets get married right this second. I don't know what changed. She can't be pregnant, he hasn't even been here.</p>

<p>It's just strange. He comes over and she gets all excited and says she has to be, "a good little housewife" and she cooks for him and fawns over him. The same girl that whines and expects mommy to do EVERYTHING for her and cant even clean up after herself. She has always needed a guy in her life, she would stay in relationships no matter how unhealthy or terrible-- one guy we even thought was married, and then when she lines up a replacement she cheats and then drops the old guy once she knows she's safe with the new guy. I don't know where this crazy marriage idea came from, I think she's doing it just so she can feel like a grown up and move out and be on base with him without having to follow any of the steps toward actually becoming a grown up. </p>

<p>As for what he does for the marines, I don't know. He just finished basic around christmas time. He was originally supposed to be fixing tanks, I think, but last I heard now he's going to be driving them. But I hear everything second and third hand when it comes to that kind of stuff and we're not a military family (yet?), so I don't know.</p>

<p>I think this is a recipe for disappointment, loneliness, and failure. Like pugmadkate said, they might be one of the couples who make it but plenty don't. There are a lot of marines in the San Diego area and and I've heard of plenty of times when it fails when they're this young.</p>

<p>If they knew each other quite well, have been dating a long time (hard to do for an 18 y/o), and are strong individuals comfortable in fending on their own, then they have a greater chance. But when they've known each other for a few weeks, she gets transplanted to an area she's not familiar with and with no family around, and he gets deployed for months, she's not going to be really happy.</p>

<p>Another point - how does she know she'd live on base? Is it certain? Sometimes base housing is full and a 19 y/o enlisted marine isn't exactly at the top of the scale to get the housing. She might find that she'll be living in an off base apartment based on what they can afford, which isn't much in California on a new marine's salary, in an neighborhood that might not be the most upscale. On top of that, these young military brides seem to have babies pretty young as well and if the marriage fails after a few years it makes it that much more difficult.</p>

<p>Hopefully the military's changed their policy since I lived on bases as a dependent but back then when the member of the military was deployed, at least over a certain period of time, the family wasn't permitted to live on base without the member there. It wasn't like what they show in the movies with the family left on base. Again, I hope they've changed this. Pugmadkate would know.</p>

<p>She's much better off dating him and allowing them both to mature for a few more years - preferably until she's through college if that's what she's interested in or he's further along in his career either in the marines or out.</p>

<p>But there's probably not much you can do to talk her out of it other than to make sure she understands the reality of it.</p>

<p>Go ahead and vent here to us, but be supportive to your sister. You can be honest - tell her this is way too much too soon - but after that make sure she knows you'll be there for her no matter what. If her marriage makes it, she will appreciate your support; if it doesn't she will need it even more than now. </p>

<p>And FWIW, many of us have been in the same spot you are. My sister married a totally unsuitable guy, she knew I thought it was a mistake. But I was there at her wedding, gave her a nice present & hoped for the best. I was also there for her a year and a half later when she left him because he was in jail & eventually tried, convicted and handed down a loooong sentence. We don't talk about that time - she's older and wiser now, as they say. But she knows I have her back. And vice versa.</p>

<p>I'll be there for her no matter what, and will try to help her as much as I can despite that we are all having to walk on eggshells on the matter. I just needed to get this out SOMEWHERE so I can continue to put on as happy a face as I can muster for her-- at this point she all knows how we really feel and has chosen not to listen, so I think all we can do is be as supportive as we can manage.</p>

<p>She says everything is taken care of and she'll get to live with marine and they'll have all their needs taken care of by the military. If marine knows better and isn't telling her, he needs to be shot. That's how I feel about that. I can't help but feel like he has a responsibility to know better and to realize that she is in over her head. He did when he first enlisted and insisted he wouldnt marry her until much later, I don't know what changed. I am sure the possibility of having to get a job or do anything at all once she gets to the base has not entered her mind. Maybe he's told her and she's not hearing him, I have no way of knowing.</p>

<p>Military pay scales here:
Military</a> Members</p>

<p>Does she have a history of other impulsive decisions? How did they turn out for her?
While yes, there are support sytems on military bases, she is setting herself up for a lot of challenges. Good luck to you both. This is a difficult life for many. For those with mental health challenges, it can be very tough.</p>

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she started seeing him the week before he left and has only spent three weeks collectively actually WITH him, the rest of the time he was out of state with little to no access to a means to communicate with her. He left in August

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<p>I don't think the amount of support a military community can provide is relevant here. For someone in an established relationship, yes, that may help to provide a transition to military life and having your new husband halfway around the world in a warzone. But this girl knew the boy for three weeks! Good grief. For anyone to think that an 18 year old girl with a history of mental illness rushing into a marriage far from family and friends to someone she doesn't know is anything but a horrendous decision, well, I'm not sure what the thought process would be. </p>

<p>This is a recipe for a disaster, no matter how you look at it. I can't imagine putting on a happy face and pretending to be happy for a daughter or a sister in this situation. Even with the understanding that we don't know the entire history here, it's still a very bad idea and likely to cause both her and the family future heartache. Even happy, healthy 18year olds who are in longterm committed relationships shouldn't be getting married, in my opinion. Emahee, I'm sorry for your worry about your sister and hope that your ability to vent here is helpful to you. Is there any responsible adult in your sister's life who she might be willing to listen to, even if it's not your parents?</p>

<p>She is, according to the law, old enough to make her own decisions.</p>

<p>Sit down with her. Tell her you support her decisions but that there are practical things she should know...like how to pay bills, balance a checkbook, cook for herself (can't eat out all the time on their income), fill out a job app, etc. Show her how. If you don't judge, she may open up to you about why she's making this choice. Don't try to solve the problem; just listen. It's easier to talk when you've got something else to look at besides each other -- mixing a cake, driving somewhere -- as you will find when you have teenagers of your own. </p>

<p>If you can't talk her out of it (and it sounds like everyone has tried), help her find the tools to succeed.</p>

<p>I think the biggest danger here in pregnancy. I would be fearful that she may try to cement the relationship with a baby or have a baby for other reasons such as lonliness, or to provide a "job" for herself.
I have seen a lot of women survive divorce and the young ones with children have a tough road ahead.
Is there some kind of long term, birth control out there that is safe and reversable?</p>