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You are exactly the reason I post so often on these boards. Because you are ME when I was 18 -- I'm so not joking!!

This is YOU talking to you in 10 years (I'm now 28) if you don't get out of this relationship now! Believe me, you're going to have problems!!!!

I'll give you some background - I think you'll find this story so similar to what you're going through it is going to be scary...

I too am a very nice girl, never got into trouble a lot, was VERY mature for my age, always was a straight A student, I was even an over-achiever, involved in sports and music, very smart and talented -- all of it. When I was 17, I met a mad 9 years older than me. He was everything to me! He was so NICE and GOOD LOOKING and way more impressive than any guy my age. We just thought alike and we got along SO WELL, it was amazing. I felt just like how you do - that he was SO special I wouldn't ever be able to leave him, that he was "the one."

He started to do the same things your BF is doing. Getting upset over the littlest things, getting mad at me for no reason, being very controlling, etc. I didn't think much of it, because the good times were always better than the bad. My parents didn't even really know what was going on. When I was 18 and he was 27, he proposed to me and I said yes. Even though, by that time, his abusiveness HAD escalated to physical abuse. But - that had only happened one time and it wasn't that bad, didn't leave a mark or anything! So I was engaged, and my parents basically accepted it. My parents accepted him because they realized I would just lie about being with him if they didn't, and they'd rather know where I was, etc., than have me lie. So they accepted the engagement, even though he was 9 years older...

OK, so I stayed with him, despite the problems we had, the fights, and one thing else -- the drinking. I don't know about your BF, but mine had a bit of a drinking problem, too. Anyway, so I went to college, graduated when I was only 20, started my career, and got married right after that. But, during those years, I think he hit about 2-3 times, he was still a PAIN in the BUTT to deal with at times, and he was definately emotionally abusive, but I got married anyway, because, you know "I loved him more than anything..."

Holy cow, did I ever screw up there! Not only was I married to a guy who could blow up at any second, walking eggshells so I didn't upset him, etc., but I just plain got married WAY TOO YOUNG! I feel out of love with him - my shrink told me it was because of the abuse, even though the abuse didn't seem that bad to me at the time -- and I had affairs. Not just one affair, but several. It was HORRIBLE! I told myself I wanted to experiment with other guys because I had settled down so young. My husband at the time wanted to start a family. Truth is, I totally out grew him! And he out grew me. Our age difference, in the end, was a big deal. So was his temper. I thought I did wanted kids young, but when I was 22, I wanted to have fun instead. And, I was SICK AND TIRED of having to babysit my husband and put his needs in front of mine. So I left, got divorced, and was stuck with almost $20,000 in debt. Years later, I filed bankruptcy.

I just think back now about how different my life would have been if I had dumped him when he first started to show signs of abuse.

I would have met guys in college, grew more as a person, not have had to deal with all the self-esteem issues that come with being abused, not have had to deal with the financial issues of a divorce, I wouldn't have the stigma of being a divorced person in their 20s, etc., etc., the list goes on. If only I could go back in time and tell my 18 year old self to dump him and move on!

As far as how special you think your BF is, well, I felt the same way about my ex-husband. I thought I'd feel that way forever. Obviously I didn't. And you know what -- I was able to find that feeling with someone else! It really wasn't all that special.

Please, focus on your friends, your future, and YOU. I would end the relationship. He's old enough to get over it, so don't feel guilty. I think you'll be surprised that you can heal from this. Remember, what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger. He's going to probably want more of a committment anyway, and why would an 18 year old girl what to be committed, I don't know! He was your first, and most likely we don't end up with our "first." You're really wasting not only your time on this relationship, but his time. I felt so guilty when I left my husband because by that time he was 32 years old and it can be kinda hard to start over at that age. Incidentily, he did do just that, he went to alcohol rehab and quit drinking and he's now remarried. But do you think that either of us wanted to go through all the heart break and effort and eventual divorce? Heck no!

Trust your instincts here. You know something is very wrong. Hey I know, how about I just give you advice on how to make him change his ways!! Wouldn't that be great!! But, I absolutely can not do that. Because there is no way you can change him! He can only do that on his own. With my ex, he changed because he quit drinking. It took years for him to come to that point. There's no reason an 18 year old should have to help a 27 year old man grow up like that. It's not your job! And frankly, now that I'm 28, I think there's something very wrong with a 27 year old wanted to date someone that much younger than him. Even though you're 18 and you're mature for your age, that doesn't matter. I think there's a warning flag right there that he knows something is wrong with him. That's why he'd rather date someone younger and more inexperienced than someone his age - most girls his age wouldn't put up with the things you're putting up with, not for a second!

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