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    Advice Columns
    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    Teens build relationship amid multiple challenges

    DEAR ABBY: I'm in a relationship with someone younger. I'm 17, and he's 15. When I first met him, I was told he was a junior. We were close friends and have been through so much together, good and bad, and we've now been in a six-month relationship.

    We don't have bad intentions because we are waiting for marriage before having sex. I have struggled with depression and anxiety, but he makes me happier than I have ever been. He's the man I have been asking God for. He treats me like a princess. I have no doubt in my mind that he could be The One.

    The problem is, his parents don't like the age difference. My parents don't have a problem with it because their age gap is the same. They are also very strict, and they will agree only if his parents agree. His parents have a bigger age gap but still are iffy about us. What I don't understand is why I can't be happy with him without our parents thinking we're going to have sex without thinking about consequences.

    When we are together, we forget about the age gap. How do I make our parents understand? Must we break up for the sake of our parents when I could fall into another depression? I don't want to go back to where I was. I can't lose him. Please help.

    — HAPPY GIRL NOW

    DEAR GIRL: You don't have to lose this boyfriend, but you may have to postpone him. In the meantime, it's important that you receive help for your depression and anxiety because it's unfair to your boyfriend to make your happiness his responsibility. Your happiness should not be dependent on another person.

    If your parents are unaware of your mental health struggles, tell them so they can assist you in getting professional help if necessary. If they cannot do that, talk about it with a counselor at your school.

    DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Eli," and I bought a beautiful white Labrador puppy, "Sasha," two years ago. I live with him and my future father-in-law, "Harry," at his father's house. Eli's father is basically a man-child. Harry feeds Sasha table scraps, and even though we have asked him to stop, he doesn't. He laughs and says the food won't hurt her. I think he is being very disrespectful.

    The extra food is making Sasha gain weight. We are worried about her health, but Harry doesn't care. We don't have enough money to move out yet. Harry is home a lot during the day when my boyfriend and I are working. We pay all of Sasha's vet and food bills. I'm not sure what to do about this. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.

    — PET PROJECT IN NEW YORK

    DEAR PET PROJECT: If possible, start asking friends or relatives if they would be willing to have Sasha stay with them during the day while you and Eli are working. Obesity isn't healthy for canines or humans, and regardless of Harry's motivation, he should not be stuffing your puppy after you have asked him not to.

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