DEAR ABBY: I am a happily married woman with two beautiful children and a terrific husband. When I was younger, my parents would not allow me to date until I was 18. Even when I turned 18, I still wasn't allowed to date. So I devised a plan. I would lie to my parents and sneak around. My boyfriend at the time -- now my husband of 10 years -- has two sisters. I asked one of them to help me to see my boyfriend. My parents always thought she was just a friend. To this day, my parents still don't know my husband has two sisters. They think he has only one.
I can't believe I have let this lie drag on for so long. I was young and foolish. I need to let them know because eventually it's going to come out.
My parents live out of state, so when I call them and tell them, maybe it won't be so bad. Can you suggest a better way to tell them? Now that I'm older I realize my parents were just trying to protect us and keep us out of trouble. If only I could wipe away this lie.
Please advise me. -- GUILTY IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR GUILTY: First of all, please stop feeling guilty. Dating is one of the ways that young people mature socially. Most teen-agers in this country start dating by the time they are 16. There were valid reasons for your acting the way you did. You were fortunate that the first boy you dated turned out to be a terrific husband. Your choice certainly wasn't based on experience.
The next time you speak with your parents, ask when they plan to visit. Then tell them you have a surprise for them -- they're going to meet a new member of the family. Their introduction should be made face-to-face. You are all adults now. You should no longer need your parents' permission or approval. (Frankly, I think they owe you an apology for putting you in the position they did.)