Emily,

I'm 16 and my boyfriend is 20. We have been together for over a year and 2 months now. We are very serious about each other and plan on getting married someday, but he doesn't have a job and hasn't had one in a few months. My mom is always putting him down and telling me he's just using me and that he will never make anything of himself. It's really hard to get a job where I live so I've been giving him time. He's trying to get a job but Mom won't believe me. My mom is always making me feel bad and sometimes I believe her. I trust my boyfriend because I don't think he's ever given me a reason not to. He's has gave me reasons to trust him. I get so mad to where I want to run away when I'm 17 to live with him because it's legal in Texas. I don't know if I should break up with him just because he doesn't have a job, or not. He lives about 45 minutes away from me, and I don't get to see him much but maybe twice a month because he doesn't have a car. I don't know what to do. I need advice, help me?

----------------------Miss Emily's advice-----------------

Kudos to you for being able to carry on a relationship with a 45 minute distance between you and him! That takes emotional strength. I can see where you mother is coming from to some degree, but you are right, as well -- jobs are hard to get in this lousy economy. I don't know about your state, but you might do some research on the web to see what areas are hiring just for your own peace of mind.  I assume he lives with his family and so there is no urgent need to move to another spot to look for work (?). Your mother has your best interests at heart. I think she realizes that a relationship can only survive if there is financial support because, most times, love just isn't enough. You are young, and so the struggle isn't as apparent to you, but having no money, no opportunities, and no means of support -- like food and shelter -- is no way to live if you can absolutely help it. There's that old saying, "When poverty walks in the door, love flies out the window." If you are used to any kind of creature comforts, that's especially true. I don't think you need to break up with him, just yet, but your dream of leaving at 17 in hopes of finding happiness with a guy who may be jobless, and you having only a high school education could be a struggle. Service industry jobs are low paying and, unless you have a skill, a minimum wage might not be enough to pay for all of your living expenses -- and a car, insurance, etc. It could fly if both of you were working 40 hours a week. But minimum wage jobs sometimes only offer part-time work in order for a company to avoid paying health insurance. I'm not saying these are the only jobs available, but it's an example. So you see, although you love him, there's a lot to consider. I wish you had a plan (and maybe do) to find a career for yourself that makes you financially independent -- if you end up with him, or don't, because that's just a good thing for girls to pursue. Life is tough, and times are especially hard, now. You are going to have to use your smarts to figure out where you are headed with this guy in order to insure a happy future for yourself. Sixteen is a little young to start thinking about forever with any one person -- and even true even if you were a rich teen. You have a whole life ahead of you, and making this kind of decision at your age could backfire. Just be cautious. I don't think it's a matter of not being able to trust your boyfriend, I'm sure he's a good guy, but being a good guy doesn't mean he's reliable in all areas. Tell your mother you take into consideration her feelings on the subject, but you have feelings, too. Reassure her you will use your head when it comes to making serious decisions and are interested in your future success, as well. And believe what you say. This approach might help ease the stress.