DEAR ABBY: I'm 15 and have been dating this guy for two weeks. I have known him for three years. I really like him and he makes me happy.
He has already told me he loves me, but I don't say it back because I'm not going to say it until I'm absolutely sure I do. I know it bothers him, but Abby, am I right for not saying it back? Please answer fast because I need your help. -- TEEN IN NEW YORK
DEAR TEEN: You are absolutely right. Although you have known this young man for three years, now that you are dating, the character of your relationship has changed. If he seems hurt that you're not saying "I love you" back, just tell him you need time because this is all new to you. It's truthful.Read more in: Love & Dating | Teens
DEAR ABBY: I finished college a year ago and officially moved out of my parents' house. I then moved across the country for a job.
For the past three months I have been dating this great guy. I never dated as a teenager, and while I talk to my parents frequently on the phone, I have yet to mention him because I'm shy about it and don't know how they would react to me dating.
I don't want the relationship to go on for months and not tell them because I feel like they will treat it as if I'm a teenager dating for the first time. This is a serious adult relationship and not like a teen's first boyfriend. How do I tell them? -- ADULT RELATIONSHIP IN ARIZONA
DEAR ADULT: While you're not experienced, you're no teenager. Your parents can minimize the importance of your relationship only if you allow them to. Granted, you are a late bloomer -- but you are also an adult. The longer you keep this a secret, the harder it will be for you to open up.
One way to introduce the subject would be to start saying "we" when you talk about where you're going and what you're doing. If they ask who the "we" is, you can then tell them you met a man named "John" a short while ago, that he seems nice, that you are seeing him, etc. Be prepared for questions and don't be defensive. They should be overjoyed at the news you are dating.Read more in: Love & Dating | Family & Parenting
DEAR ABBY: I'm 13 and read your column every day. My parents fight a lot. When they fight, I try to get in between them and keep it down. It's not very effective, though. I don't want their fighting to leak out. Therapy doesn't seem possible.
Do you have some tips to keep them from fighting with each other? I'm an only child and don't have any relatives who live nearby. -- THE REFEREE
DEAR REFEREE: Parents fight for many reasons, none of them having to do with you. The problems could be lack of money, job stress or something in their relationship with each other that isn't working.
If it were possible for you to fix their marriage, I would advise you how to do it, but the only people who can do that are your parents themselves -- if they are willing. If their fighting escalates to violence, rather than put yourself in the middle, you should call the police.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Marriage & Divorce | Teens
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)