Dating A Minor Is A Major Problem
By Harlan Cohen
My 19-year-old best friend just told me she is in love with our other best friend, a 15-year-old boy. Not a man, a boy. I am very disgusted by this, even though she claims that they have done nothing but kiss. Also, I am hurt that their relationship was kept a secret for five months, without telling me. It has always been the three of us going out together, and now suddenly, I feel like a third wheel and not a part of our group. What should I do?
Name Kept Anonymous
Your friend decided to keep this a secret because she knows that it's wrong. As for you feeling like a third wheel, I don't think she thought about it. If so, she could have easily set you up with one of his friends from his driver's ed class.
It's taken a very long time for your friend to convince herself that this is acceptable. You need to talk to her, but don't start off by passing judgment. Avoid calling her "disgusting" as an opener. Let her explain. Then tell her how you feel about things.
Understand that the appeal of dating an inexperienced 15-year-old is that it probably feels emotionally safe. Someone that much younger is naturally impressionable and is less likely to leave the relationship. It's this very reason why there are laws to protect minors. She might feel like she can fall in love with him, but as the mature partner, she has a responsibility to not get involved. Just because it feels good, doesn't mean it's right.
If your best friend insists on being with him, talk to your parents, talk to her parents and consider talking to the 15-year-old's parents. Just make sure that you're doing this to protect your 15-year-old friend and not out of jealousy.
My boyfriend of four years recently — to be exact, two weeks ago — had an affair and told me about it yesterday. He says that he's sorry and wants us to work it out. I'm so hurt and don't know if I can trust him. The relationship has been long-distance for the past six months. What do I do?
Dear Cheated On,
He's immature, he's reckless and he doesn't care about you or your feelings. If he did care, he would have told you that there was a problem. He could have shared his feelings with you. Instead, he decided to say nothing and let his actions say it all.
He's selfish, he's a coward and he's just a sad story.
The worst part about cheating is the whole trust issue. It's close to impossible for him to earn back your trust. Eventually, you might be able to forgive him, but you'll never trust him the same way. He tainted this relationship forever. The only thing left to do is to be sad, hurt and disappointed. Use your friends as support to help you through this time. Grieve for the loss of this relationship and try to move forward.
One last thing: At some point in the future, he will probably want to get back together. He'll beg, he'll plead and he might even cry. Unless he gets into some serious therapy to find out why he cheated, it will just happen again.
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© Harlan Cohen 2002
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