Dear Annie: My good friend “Ben” met “Kim” during his first week as a freshman at college. Three weeks later, Ben called to tell me they were getting married in a month. Both of their families were shocked.
Ben is usually a sensible guy, but since he met Kim, he has been unpredictable and seems brainwashed. He is hurt when his friends and family tell him that rushing into marriage with someone he barely knows is not a good idea. I resolved to trust Ben’s judgment – until I met Kim. She clearly has serious mental and emotional problems. The first day we met, she told me elaborate personal stories from her childhood that clearly were made up.
Ben was crazy about Kim when they first met, but now he seems embarrassed, and I’d even characterize his reaction as “trapped.” Kim recently announced that she is pregnant, and Ben now feels obligated to marry her. But I don’t trust anything she says. Kim clings to Ben 24/7 and controls his life. I suspect he wants to get out of the engagement, but he’s a little afraid of her. He won’t confide in anyone, but I can tell he’s struggling. What can I do? They are both 19, and I’m afraid this girl is going to ruin his life before it starts. – Distraught Best Friend
Dear Distraught: This sounds like emotional abuse. The combination of being away from home, starting college and meeting an exciting girl didn’t give Ben a chance to catch his breath. If you think he’s having second thoughts, please let him know he doesn’t need to rush into anything, no matter what the circumstances are. Even if there is a baby, he can fulfill his obligations as a father without marrying a girl who seems unstable. Don’t badmouth Kim, but do encourage Ben to talk to a college counselor. Remind him that this is his future and he should take whatever time he needs to get it right.