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Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Sick of Hiding My Forbidden Romance

Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Sick of Hiding My Forbidden Romance

Hi Auntie,
I have become very troubled recently because of my parents' outright disapproval of my relationship. When I was 15 and he was 18, we dated and my parents were alright with him until they discovered my texts with him. I had asked him if we could smoke together (the green stuff), which is something we had never done but I was curious about, and a couple times I was at his house when his parents weren't home, which is something my parents were very angry about (we didn't do the HND, by the way). After finding out this unsavory information, my parents made me break up with him, which I did because of all of the privileges they took away from me as punishment. They have been very adamant about me not seeing or contacting him, they hate his guts.

Fast forward to now. I am almost 17 and he is almost 20. We have been secretly seeing each other and talking to each other online. I genuinely think we have a good relationship, and that we love each other. We are committed to each other and don't want to lose each other again. I've made up my mind that I want to keep seeing him. Honestly, he is no danger to me. Also, neither one of us are interested in smoking or doing any activities like that. I tried explaining to my parents that they should give him another chance, but they won't listen to me. They wouldn't even let him talk to them to apologize. In fact, they threatened to go to the police if they find out we have been together or contacted each other. I can't take this stress anymore, I'm so paranoid all the time and I think I'm going crazy. Once I turn 18, is there anything they can do to stop me from seeing him? Is there any legal action they could take against him? Or what could I do to make sure it doesn't happen? (Also I'd like to add I'm a 4.2 GPA student and a varsity athlete... not really a screw up.)

Of course you're not, darling! But, um, you're also not making much of a case for yourself by skulking around like this. If you want your parents to think you're mature enough to handle this relationship, you need to be mature enough to talk to them about how important it is to you—even if you know that the conversation is likely to be fruitless and awful. You've gotta at least try.

And look, for what it's worth, I understand why you haven't. Your folks' extravagant panic over the most banal of teen rebellions (not to mention the abominable move of snooping through your texts) isn't winning them any awards for good parenting, either—and my guess, given their reaction, is that finding out what you'd done shattered some long-standing, carefully-cultivated, dearly-held delusions that you were magically immune from normal human impulse. Because that, alas, is the lie so many parents tell themselves in order to sleep at night: "Oh, other kids might keep secrets, smoke pot, and fool around with dudes—but not ours! Never ours! Our child is a pristine, incorruptible mutant who dreams of nothing but puppies, ponies, and organic beets!"

Which makes it not at all surprising that when the shizz hit the fan, rather than confront the horrifying truth that their kid is an actual person who (gasp!) sometimes does things she's not supposed to do, your parents took the easy way out and blamed your boyfriend for eeeeeeeverything.

So, like I said, it's understandable that you're not dying to talk this out. But on the other hand, it's been almost two years—and surely there's a chance, if you broach the subject with sensitivity and maturity, that they'd be willing to discuss it.

HOWEVER. Your parents' threat of police involvement means that before you do anything else, you need to cover your ass—in the figurative sense, but also possibly in the literal one, depending upon the age of consent where you live. Once you're above the age of consent, there's no legal action a parent can take to prevent your relationship (and regardless of your age, there's no law against you two simply being in contact or spending time together. No matter how much your parents despise this guy, he cannot be arrested for talking to you). But if you're not of age, and if you've engaged in any sexual activity, HND or otherwise—or if your electronic communications with each other could be used as evidence that this happened—then yes, a call to the police from your parents could land your guy in some serious trouble. Which means that a) you need to read up, in detail, on the law as it applies to you, and b) if you're not legal yet, you need to cover your tracks, clear your history, and keep any contact—online or in person—strictly G-rated until you are. (And needless to say, you should really knock off the secret sneaking-around and dispose of the evidence before you approach your parents.)

And then, having made sure that the conversation won't net your crush a permanent on the sex offender registry, make your move as follows:

1. Pick a calm moment, approach whichever of your parents is more lenient, and ask if you can talk. (Ex: "I was hoping we could have a conversation about my relationship with [guy].")

2. Explain that you appreciate why they were upset, and demonstrate how very responsible and mature you are now. (Ex: "I understand why you felt that relationship wasn't good for me, and I'm sorry I betrayed your trust. I'm also sorry that I let you believe he was at fault for what happened. It was my decision, and I should have taken responsibility.")

3. And then, open the discussion. (Ex: "It's been nearly two years since that happened, and I would like you to reconsider letting me have contact with him. Can we talk about this?")

Of course, this conversation will go a lot better if you actually have spent the time since the breakup exhibiting greater maturity and better judgment. But even then, there's no guarantee. Maybe your parents will relent and discuss; maybe they'll at least think about it. Or, of course, maybe they'll freak out all over again and you'll be right back where you are now. What's important is that honesty is your best option, and you should always try your best option first... if only so that you don't feel so horrible when you end up using one of the next-best ones.

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Topics: Advice
Tags: parents, auntie sparknotes, dating, advice, secrets, snooping

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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