Dear Carolyn: I have a dilemma. My boyfriend and I have been together for 11 months. We love each other and want to get married. The problem is, he wants to have sex before we get married. I was raised to wait until marriage to have sex. I love him with all my heart, but I don’t want to go against my parents and sleep with him. He says it’s either sex or nothing at all.
Helpless: You do have a dilemma, and sex isn’t it. You’re asking me whether to follow your boyfriend’s new orders or to keep following your parents’ old ones. Wow. The only orders you should ever heed on personal matters are the ones that come straight from your own mind.
If you’re old enough to get married, you’re old enough to know: What do you want? What do you value? What do you think is right?
And if you don’t know the answers, then don’t get married yet, to anyone — not even to someone who conveniently agrees with your parents. Then all you get is a new parent and still no mind of your own.
Figure this stuff out before you make any irreversible decisions. Take the next decade or two, if you need it. I’m serious. The test isn’t timed, and the only wrong answers are the ones you don’t bother to find.
Then, once you have those answers, ask yourself how you feel about his ultimatum.
Don’t get me wrong. He is absolutely entitled to decide he won’t marry someone he has never slept with.
And you, likewise, are absolutely entitled to decide your values are more important to you than he is.
No one is too good to lose, except you.