DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old high school senior. My parents and I don't get along. I swear to goodness that they hate me, plus they don't trust a single thing that I do. I am about to ship out for training in the Army, and I will be gone six months.
I met this guy, "Alex," who is 20. He is an absolute dear. He is nice and patient, and is aware of my going into the service. Alex is in the Marines, so he knows how things go. He promised he would wait for me till I get back.
The problem is, my mother doesn't want me to see Alex because he helped me to skip school and gave me a hickey. I have talked to him about the hickey, and my parents lectured him on my skipping school. He promised neither would happen again.
What isn't fair is that my mom had a kid when she was my age and her boyfriend was 30, yet I can't date a 20-year-old. Alex is a sweetheart, and I really like him and would love to go out with him. What do I do? -- LEARNING TO TRUST AGAIN IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR LEARNING TO TRUST AGAIN: You try to understand that it isn't that your parents don't trust you. The person they don't trust is the 20-year-old who helped you skip school and gave you a hickey.
Having "had a kid" at your age has made your mother only too aware of how trusting and vulnerable a young woman can be at 17. You are on the cusp of flying the nest -- as she was -- and she wants to make sure that nothing impedes your progress.
So, what should you do? Go get your military training, and when you get back, if your Marine is still waiting as he promised, start dating him then.