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Teen Backs Off From Boy's Idea of Commitment

DEAR ABBY: I am 14 and have started dating a guy. "Jake" is really sweet and nice to me, but he also has some depression. I feel like if I break up with him, he will start hurting himself. I really like him, but my parents also don't know we are dating. He wants to be together forever, but I'm not sure what's best for me. For now, I want to focus on school and sports. What should I do? -- TEEN IN COLORADO

DEAR TEEN: You are an intelligent young woman. Tell Jake that your parents don't want you dating until you are older. It is no reflection on him; it is the truth. Explain that, right now, you plan to focus on school and sports and suggest that it wouldn't hurt him to do the same. If he reacts by threatening to harm himself, tell your parents or a trusted teacher so they can inform his parents and he can get the emotional support he needs, and possibly professional help.

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