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Abby: Dating behind parents’ back won’t prove maturity

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My boyfriend, “Aidan,” and I have been dating for three months. I want to tell my parents, but I don’t know how. They say I’m too young and immature to date. I’ll be 16 in five months. They say Aidan is obsessed with me and they don’t want me staying in an unhealthy relationship.

My parents think I’m not talking to Aidan, but I really am. I want to show them I’m mature enough for a relationship. All they keep saying is I need to be “realistic” and “respectful.” I’m more respectful than half the people I know.

I don’t want to keep this from my parents anymore. What should I do?

Teen Girl in Illinois

Dear Teen Girl: When parents say a teen is too young to date, they aren’t talking about the number of candles on her birthday cake. If your parents are worried that Aidan is “obsessed,” they must have a reason.

Sneaking around isn’t a way to gain anyone’s confidence. Teens show they are mature and responsible enough to handle the privilege of dating by being open, honest, communicating their feelings, listening respectfully to the opinions of others, and shouldering responsibility. If you start now, you may be able to convince your parents that you’re ready.

Dear Abby: I have been taking trips with a friend for a few years. We share a room and usually have a good time. Unfortunately, my friend is cheap. She fights for every dollar every day of the year even though she is very well off.

Lately she has become worse. During the last tour we took, she “made lunch” off the breakfast buffets in the hotels where we stayed, although most of them had signs posted saying that food should not be taken out. Not once, not twice, but every single day she packed a sandwich, fruit and coffee so she wouldn’t have to buy lunch. I asked her to please not do it, but she brushed me off.

I like her, but I hate feeling ashamed of her. I believe in doing the right thing, but I have reached the point where I just don’t want to travel with her. Any advice?

California Traveler

Dear Traveler: Yes. Tell your friend you have now taken your last trip together, and then tell her exactly why.

Dear Abby: As a young adult in my early 20s, I’ve decided to convert to a different religion. However, I have an anxiety disorder that makes being in new situations and places extremely daunting. I am at a loss about where I should start.

Anxious Convert

in Oklahoma

Dear Anxious: Visit the church, temple or mosque you wish to join and share your concerns with the priest, minister, rabbi or imam. If you do, that person can see you are introduced around and ease your way into the religious community.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.