Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’m 17 and dating a girl who is also 17. We have a huge problem. Her dad doesn’t want his daughter dating one guy steadily. She spoke with her mom, and she’s fine with us going out regularly.

Her dad works the swing shift at a steel mill, so it’s pretty easy for us to date without him knowing about it. And we don’t take any chances. I always get her home at 11 p.m. without fail! I’ve never brought her home even one minute late. And since her dad has days off on Sunday and Monday, we go out on our dates every Friday night and Saturday night.

I really like this girl, but it bothers me that we have to sneak around behind her father’s back. It just does not feel right to me. My girlfriend doesn’t see it that way. She thinks it is fine, as long as her mom says she can date me. Please give me your opinion on our dating situation. I guess I need an independent voice to tell me it’s all right before I will let go of the guilt I feel about this.

— Stealthy, Steady Boyfriend, via email

Dear Stealthy, Steady Boyfriend: Your girlfriend’s parents should be in concert about their daughter’s dating choices; this is not something you should be caught in the middle of.

You do have parental permission via the parent who is home when you pick up your date and when you return her to her home on time.

My advice is to enjoy dating this young lady and not feel guilty. However, it’s imperative that you continue to be 100 percent responsible and timely, just as you have been. Keep up the good respect toward your date and her mother. I trust that, in time, her father will fall in line once he fully understands how respectful and honorable you are — and, of course, that this is the wish of his cherished daughter as well!

Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m 16, and my parents have been divorced now for almost a year. We all used to attend the Baptist church, but after the divorce, my mother, who was raised Catholic, decided she wanted to return to the Catholic Church — and she wants me to go with her. I prefer to continue to go to the Baptist church because I know everybody there, and I was also baptized in that church. I don’t want to go to my mom’s church. Please give me some good advice, if possible, as I don’t want to get tangled up in a sticky situation over this.

— Have My Own Faith,

via email

Dear Have My Own Faith: This is indeed a delicate situation. I can understand why your mother would want to acquaint you with her religious tradition, but I also understand why you would resist, given your experiences at another church.

Perhaps the best way to resolve the matter, for now, is to have your Baptist minister and a Catholic priest chat with you and your mother together to reach an agreeable solution.

Whatever it might be, make sure you honor it. It could be that you attend your church regularly but occasionally accompany your mother for special occasions at hers. In any case, I suggest a very open and honest conversation among all parties.

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