DEAR ABBY: I’m 16 and so is my boyfriend. He’s wonderful. We’re very much in love and intend to be together for the rest of our lives, but my mother is causing major problems in our relationship. We’re not allowed to see each other outside of school. Neither of us has a driver’s license, and we’re not getting them anytime soon.
Even if someone will be watching us the whole time, Mom says she’s afraid we’re going to “make out.” We won’t, and it’s very distressing. She says she trusts me, but clearly she doesn’t. She also says she approves of my boyfriend, but obviously that’s not the case, either.
What can I do to convince her that we are trustworthy? — Distressed Teen in Texas
DEAR DISTRESSED TEEN: Not knowing your mother, it’s hard to say what will ease her worries. However, at 16, you are at an age when you should be starting to date. Many teens start by going out in groups, which lessens the opportunity for “make-out” situations.
The problem with overprotecting a teenage girl is that it can prevent her from acquiring the necessary social skills she will need later to make mature judgments. It’s important that your mother realize this, and please tell her I said so.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I disagree on whether it is OK for me to have a secret I do not wish to share with her. It doesn’t affect her. It pertains to a situation 40 years ago, long before we met. After we got into an argument about it, I eventually told her what it was about.
There was a popular movie about the same situation. Whenever it came on TV and I watched it, I would get teary-eyed, and my wife would ask me what was wrong. I would say I didn’t know because I wanted to keep the reason to myself.
Now I’m accused of having lied to her about it. My wife is adamant that spouses should have no secrets whatsoever from each other. The issue was something significant and private to me. We would appreciate your comments. — Disagreeing in Maryland
DEAR DISAGREEING: Would your wife have felt better if, when she saw you tear up and asked what was wrong, you had responded honestly and told her it was something personal, painful and none of her business?
What you did wasn’t lying; it was protecting yourself from having to discuss something you weren’t ready to reveal. And when you did, instead of being sympathetic, she attacked you. Well, now that you have shared your secret and are being punished for it, are you more comfortable with the idea of telling her “all”? (I doubt it.)