I got married young

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have been living in the US for 4 and half years, during my first year of high school i meet this guy, we started messing around, and I got pregnant when I was 15. I was scared to tell my mom, she raised me as a single mother but she had me when she was 31. I told her and obviously she was mad but she tried to help me in everything she could.

I moved in with this guy into his parents home when I was about 8 months pregnant. My daughter was born a few weeks earlier and she had to stay in the hospital for a week because she had intestine problems. When she got out we went to live with her dad to his parents house. A few weeks later, we got married I was 16.

I still had to finish my last year in high school, he stayed with her in the mornings while i was in school and worked some evenings at a restaurant. I finished high school just last june and im only 17.

I wanted to go to college but he did not want me to go, he said he wanted me to stay with our daughter. One time we were arguing about it he burned me with a lighter, I called the police and called my mom to pick me and my daughter up at 2 in the morning. He went to school the next day and checked me out saying he wanted to talk, he drove to the next city, so i would not try to get away, and he cried to me saying he wanted us back.

He is working full time now while i take classes online through the community college. i am trying to get an education but he does not let me, my mother is teaching me how to drive, but he says he does not want me driving because its dangerous.

I dont know if i made the right decision I was too young and i wanted my daughter to grow with her dad because i didn’t. But everything has been crazy lately and I don’t know what to do. I would really appreciate if you could help me.

A: Age has very little to do with this. Sadly, there are many women of all ages who choose the wrong guy for all the seemingly “right” reasons. You wanted your daughter to have the father you didn’t have. Who could blame you for that? But you didn’t know the guy well enough to make a good judgment about whether he could be the kind of husband and father you hoped for.

I’m very concerned that you may well have married an insecure man who controls you with the physical threat of violence, emotional manipulation, attempts to limit your ability to be less dependent, and by isolating you. The fact that he burned you and took you where you couldn’t leave when he wanted to talk are huge, huge warning flags. There is absolutely no excuse for doing either. This guy is dangerous when he isn’t getting what he wants!

Your letter doesn’t once mention anything loving, sweet, or tender about your husband. I can’t know if that is due to anger on your part or if it is because those qualities are no longer present. It’s another indicator, though, that your marriage isn’t where it should be.

It sounds to me like it would be very difficult for you to sort out your feelings and negotiate a different kind of marriage while living with your husband. It’s very difficult to think straight while living with fear and without support. For that reason, you might want to take a huge step back and see if you can live with your mom for a time. I’m so glad you have a supportive mom who is encouraging you.

If your husband does want to save the marriage, consider seeing a counselor to help the two of you become a team of two equals who mutually respect each other and support each other’s growth.

Having a male in the house isn’t what your daughter needs. She – and you – need a real man who doesn’t hurt her mother and who cherishes you both.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Oct 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). I got married young. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/10/15/i-got-married-young/