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Hey guys,

This is probably not the right place to even post this, but I need some support right now.

I'm having a rough night.

I just found out that my 18 year old cousin is getting married. Her and her boyfriend have been dating for about 4 or 5 months.

Just some back story: She was in Israel for her first year of university this year when she met him. She's a modern religious Jew, so her family is a bit different from mine. Mine is Jewish, but very conservative. My immediate family values education over marriage.

But I can't help but feel a little bad. I'm the eldest of 15 grandchildren and always just assumed I would be the first to get married, especially since me and the second youngest, who happens to be my sister, are 4 years apart. She's the same age as my engaged cousin.

So I always just assumed it would be me. But now it won't be and I'm having a bit of a rough time accepting it. I know it's not exactly a wise decision to get married at 18. She has no means to support herself: no degree, barely any money, and no real skills. Her fiancé is my age (almost 23, which is why this bothers me even MORE) and doesn't have a degree yet either. They've been dating for 5 months. I just don't understand. And because they're both religious, they aren't able to touch each other in any way until marriage. I just...don't get how this works.

I'm not really sure where I'm getting at with this. I'm upset for several reasons:

1. She's very young. She's had trouble with severe depression and (apparent) bipolar disorder in the summer. And then she moves away to Israel, finds this guy, and suddenly she's engaged and over the moon? It just seems strange.

2. I really got used to the idea of being the first. I know it sounds petty, but this girl keeps stealing my experiences! She went away for school when she was 13 years old. Her parents sent her to Israel for junior and high school to get a more religious experience. That year, when she came back for the holidays, she asked me "Does it bother you that I got my independence before you?" Ugh. Obnoxious. So she came back here for her last year of high school and then went back this year. And now she's taking the first wedding away from me too, and most likely the first great-grandchild (I hear from her sister she wants to be pregnant 2 months after the wedding, which will be this August)

3. And I think the first wedding wouldn't be as important to me if I weren't so close to my grandfather. I think because I'm the eldest grandchild, we have a strong connection and are very close. For years, he's been saying the next wedding in the family is going to be mine and he's so excited, etc. I just got used to it!

I should be really proud of myself right now, though. I should be over the moon. I graduated in 2011 with a BA Honours in Psychology with an excellent GPA. I worked so hard for my diploma. I took the year off to work and save money, take the GRE, and apply to grad school and I got into my top school, NYU. NYU has always been my dream - I mean it - since I was 15 years old. I have wanted that program and that school. And I got in and I'm 90% sure I'm going (getting finances in order). I should be so happy right now because this is what I wanted. I didn't want marriage early. I always always said I would have a degree and a career and be independent before I got married. I'm also newly (as of 2 months ago) single and loving my independence. I wish this wasn't bothering me so much!!

And now I have to see them both tomorrow night at a family dinner for passover and meet the guy for the first time. And it's going to be so incredibly awkward because I really don't know what to say to them, or how to behave. And I don't want to hear the comments and excitement around the table or see my grandparents so happy about this. This whole family (except for this girl's mother) were so against this marriage until the guy came back here to meet everyone. And they liked him - so now it's suddenly okay.

I know this may sound petty and obnoxious, but I really needed to vent. Any support is welcome. I just feel kind of icky tonight and needed some kind words.

I've never really felt so completely ridiculous before.

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I know it's easier said than done, but don't stress too much about it. I come from a Jewish family as well, and all I can say is that having the second marriage is better than having the first marriage that doesn't work out (and from what you said, it sounds like this girl needs help and dating someone for 4 months and planning a baby in two months doesn't sound stable at all).

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I'm not Jewish, but my advice comes from the fact that it sounds like you have so much going for you and if NYU is your dream... FOLLOW IT! I'd probably be jealous of her, too. But seriously- she wants to be married with children at 19? No thanks. Go out and live life a little. Do what you want to do. You're going to have a successful career and higher education- in the long run I think those things are worth way more than rushing into marriage at 18!

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I am 26 and I am the oldest grandchild. 9 months ago my cousin got married (i did not attend the ceremony because of the obvious reasons: cant stand my relatives asking curious questions like "So when are YOU getting married?", "oh poor girl, do you at least have a boyfriend?") and a week ago she gave birth to a little boy. At first, I was very jealous that she has it all: degrees (BS, MS), career and a family...

I am muslim, therefore my relatives find it very strange that I am not married at this age. They also find it awkward that I called off my wedding 5 years ago. I want to please them and be an exemplary girl, get married soon, have kids... but wait, it is my life we are talking about. I dont have to live my life just to make my grandfather happy. Of course I want to make them proud, but i certainly won't be making life-changing decisions based on my relatives' opinion.

Every person has his/her own happiness recipe. Yeah, my cousin is happy having: husband+kid+career. But I may not be very happy if I was in her shoes. First, I want to move to USA and start an academic carrer with a PhD, second, meet a nice guy and get married, have kids and be a respected professor in my field. So my happiness recipe is: PhD + successful academic career + living in USA + loving husband + healthy kids.

So, obviously, I set much higher goals than my cousin does. And I sincerely respect myself for that.

Determine your own recipe of happiness! What do YOU want? What will make YOU happy? Getting married? No, I dont think that an ambitios, self-sufficient person like you could be happy fully devoting herself to her family. From my experience, weaker people with low self-esteem get married early forming co-dependent families (and if your cousin is tend to be depressed, it is clearly a sign of lack of confidence). They think, it is easier to experience life supporting each other. Maybe they are right but I dont want to have a co-dependent family, I want to have a family based on mutual love and respect. I am sure the same applies to you.

We all eventually get what we wanted. Your cousin may have dreamed aboud wedding since she was 15 but you had another dream - getting into NYU. And you did it, congratulations! Now it is time for you to dream about the next thing and you will eventually get it! Concentrate on your own dreams and goals because only they can make you truely happy.

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I agree 1000000000000000000000% with circeya! (Did I make myself clear enough?)

I bet you your 18 year old cousin would cut off her right leg to be in your shoes. You need to have a new perspective about this situation!

In a nutshell, GO TO NYU AND DON'T LOOK BACK!!!!

Good luck.

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Thanks guys! Your comments made me feel a lot better about the whole situation.

I met the guy last night and saw her for the first time since she got back. Even after some obnoxious comments from her

(Her: Guess what? I'm getting married

Me: So I hear. Congrats

Her: You didn't say congratulations before (referring to when I walked into her house and said "welcome home"), I still managed to keep composed and had a good time. Didn't really talk to her for the rest of the night aside from the above and when she said "Did anyone ever tell you how brilliant you are?" when I spilled half a glass of water on the table.

*eye roll*

And I hate to admit it, but it also made me feel better because the guy was definitely not a looker...and he had bad breath.


Oh, I'm so mature.

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Take comfort in the fact that it is MUCH easier to find any old guy to marry than to get into grad school. She's obviously only throwing jabs at you because she's totally jealous. And this is NYU we're talking about!!! Talk about awesome! Relish every minute of your freedom in NYC!

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Hmm. My ample experience in Jewish communal circles is that these young orthodox marriages are a whole different ballgame than what non-orthodox jews do. Don't compare yourself. A seminary girl and yeshiva boy are not YOU. She's getting married for her own specific reasons (feasible examples: she believes he is the one, she wants children young, she won't touch him before marriage), and whether those reasons are good or bad is not our job to judge. Just enjoy the fact that you got into NYU (hey, I'm going there too, sup?) and relax. Meanwhile, I met my boyfriend on my year program in Israel 5 and a half years ago - I'm your age now. Everyone goes at their own pace. The key is to not compare ourselves to others!

Edited by uhohlemonster
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Take comfort in the fact that it is MUCH easier to find any old guy to marry than to get into grad school. She's obviously only throwing jabs at you because she's totally jealous. And this is NYU we're talking about!!! Talk about awesome! Relish every minute of your freedom in NYC!

I definitely second this. A lot people get married. It is fairly easy to get somebody to sign a marriage license for you. The act itself is not an accomplishment. Not many people go to graduate school at NYU. Not many people accomplish something they consider to be their ultimate dream. An accomplishment is something you can look back upon with pride; and you will forever do that once completing graduate school. You cannot always say the same thing about marriage, unfortunately. You should not even be worried about this right now, because once you are living in New York City with the plethora of single men available to you, you will be very happy you are not married ;).

The average age someone gets married in the U.S. now is 25-26 years old and is slowly increasing, you are not even there yet. Nobody in family got married before the age of 30. You have a lot more things you are going to do before you move onto that phase of your life. Savor it and don't waste your time worrying about what someone else is doing. Furthermore, it is proven that people who wait to have children after the age of 30 have smarter kids because they are generally better educated and provided for. (I used to teach sociology, I had to know all this stuff). It is natural to be a little envious of others' perceived happiness but do not let it get in the way of making yourself the best possible you.

If you use all your engery working on yourself, you won't have time to worry about what other people are doing.

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It is very easy to get married [for straight couples] and very easy to have a family/kids [unless there are complications] but you know what is NOT easy? Getting into grad school! I am 24 [older than you!] and going to grad school but i chose to delay marriage/kids because i want to put myself first! I find most people don't understand that marriage/kids/family are a lot of work and require that you put others first all the time and it is hard to reverse that situation, so you are so young and should follow your dream and amazing opportunity plus wouldn't it make more sense to wait until you found the right person and not just anyone for the sake of getting married first? It's not a competition! don't compare yourself to her

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