Dear Dr. Wallace:
I’m 17 and recently met the sweetest, most wonderful guy in the world at a friend’s wedding reception. So far, all we have done is have lunch together with a large group of mutual friends on a few Saturday afternoons. I’d really like to see this guy one-on-one on a regular basis, but he is 20 years old. I’m afraid my parents won’t allow me to talk to him because of his age. I will graduate high school this June, and I’ll turn 18 this fall. But that’s a long way off!
I want my parents to meet this guy. I know they will really like him. I’m afraid to tell them he is 20 because they might tell me I can’t date him because he’s too old. They haven’t specifically told me not to date someone that much older than I am, but somehow, I feel they wouldn’t like the idea. Would it be dishonest of me to invite him to meet my parents and then, after he leaves, tell them he’s only 1,035 days older than I am?
If I gamble and tell them his age before they meet him, they might never give him a chance. Trust me, this guy has a super nice personality, and he is reasonably handsome, too. He has behaved like a perfect gentleman every time I have seen him
— Hopeful for a New Beau, via email
Hopeful For A New Beau: I don’t believe it to be dishonest if you don’t tell your parents the age difference until after they meet him.
However, you absolutely must tell them his actual age as soon as he leaves. You may not hold this back for even one hour from your parents, no matter what. They deserve to have all of the facts to make their decision. Consider your “preferred facts” to be already in the mix via the meeting you all hold to get to know one another. Fair is fair, so if they think he is nice but too old for you, you must abide by the ruling, and I would advise you in that case to not make a major issue out of it.
Once you graduate from high school and are in college, your chances of dating him will improve dramatically.