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So i have been dating this guy for almost two years now. He is 21. I am 16 and turning 17 next month. My mom had an issues with the 4 year difference when we first started dating. We got passed it and moved on. About a month ago my boyfriend wanted to propose to me and asked my mom if he could. She said no and i got in trouble and got grounded because of all of this. I wasnt allowed to see him outside of our tae kwon do class and i couldnt text him or anything. We came to a "compromise" but she really just laid down more rules.i talked to my grandma about how i felt and she said she would talk to my mom but i feel like things arent going to change. I am still grounded but i got to see him this weekend because my dad let me. The whole reason why i am grounded isnt even because of the engagement thing. its because of the age still. and i feel like my mom needs to get over this cause its been almost two years and none of us can control what age we are. This whole thing is damaging our relationship because we need to see each other for more than an hour. I really love him and want to be with him for a long time but my mom is making that almost impossible. advice please?

Answer
Bailey, your mom is not the only one who has a say in whether or not you can date this boy.  It is very much against the law.  The law changes from place to place, but in most places in the US, it is illegal for someone to date another who is 2 years younger or more than himself or herself. The simple act of holding hands could land this young man in jail.

Your mom may be doing this to protect you, but in a BIG way, she's also protecting him.  This is not a game.  If he is arrested for Statutory Rape, and if a conviction or plea follows, he may have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.  

You say, "I really love him and want to be with him for a long time but my mom is making that almost impossible. advice please?"  If you love him, break up until you are at the age of legal consent, or else you may be actively contributing to a life as a registered sex offender for the man of your dreams.  You will want to check with your local lawmakers to find out what age of consent is.  It is probably 17 or 18.  After you reach that age, it may then be legal for you to date because you are no longer considered a minor.

But then that leads us to your mother.  After you are at the age of legal consent, your mother still has to approve as long as you live under her roof.  That's the way it goes. So you have to ask yourself how to move forward.  

You asked my advice, so I'll be straight with you.  I know ONLY one couple over 20 today who is with the person they were dating at your age, and I know a LOT of couples. I know of a dozen who dated the same person from their early or mid teens into their 20's and SWORE he or she was "the one," and they (like you) were ready to marry him or her.  Yet they broke up.  Why?  People change.  You are not the person today you will be in a year.  You will change a lot in 2 years, and in 5 years, you will be unrecognizable.  Same with your guy.  You may change in similar ways, making you still compatible years from now, or you may change into totally incompatible people.  My point is to not rush it.  You are young, and your mother is wise.  Listen to her and the other adults in your life (and by adults, I mean people 30 and over!!). Dating is a complex thing, and you cannot marry the first person you fall in love with.  This is the point in your life where you are supposed to be making mistakes and learning from them so that one day you, too, can be a wise mother and guide YOUR daughter toward a life NOT filled with failed relationships.

At the same time, I respect your desire to work it out with your mother, but I won't even address that issue until you are legal. Feel free to contact me again then.

In a nutshell, break up until you are legal.  When you are legal, listen to your mother for her wisdom and because she is your landlord, but learn to negotiate for your independence, as well.  Keep in mind that this probably won't be your last romance.

Best to you!

Suzi

Teen Dating Issues

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Suzi Zimmerman

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I am a teacher and I write books on teen dating, self-esteem, and values. I can answer questions on making healthy choices, self-improvement, liking yourself, relationships and friendships, goal-setting, values, and how to handle making difficult choices.

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Today 1 in 5 sexually active people has HPV (linked to cancer and genital warts) and 1 in 4 has Herpes. 90% of girls who do NOT use condoms become pregnant each year, and AIDS cases are on the rise. Those who do not have sex will not have to deal with these issues, nor will 99% of those who use condoms correctly and consistently. In short, abstain from sex or use condoms - and use them correctly. Parents of adolescent and teen girls should research Gardasil, a vaccine against many forms of HPV. You may not think your daughter will be sexually active, but this will also offer her certain health protection in the event of rape - or should she become sexually active.

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