Dating older boy no minor issue

DEAR ANNIE:I'm a freshman in high school. It has been stressful, and I have difficult classes. However, I recently met this amazing guy who lifts my spirits and keeps me grounded.

Now, before you start the whole "teenagers don't really know what love is" speech, I just want to say that I know what love is not, and this is different. We honestly love each other and are planning to move in together when I start college.

There is only one problem. He's a senior, almost 18, and I'm 14. We realize that it's technically illegal, but we can't bear the thought of being apart. We are planning to tell my parents and get their permission for us to date. If we get their OK, is it still illegal? — Mixed-Up Minor

DEAR MINOR:Fine, no lectures. It is not illegal to date an older boy. It is illegal for him to have sex with you while you are still a minor. If he loves you, he won't pressure you to be intimate sooner. We know this feels different from any other relationship you've had, and that means you are maturing and are capable of developing deeper passions. But it doesn't mean you will stop changing and growing emotionally. Please be careful.

DEAR ANNIE:My in-laws celebrate every Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Both are heavy smokers, and the house smells extremely bad.


There has been chatter in the family about moving the Christmas Eve celebration to a nonsmoking house because there are some newborn great-grandchildren. We don't want them exposed to the secondhand smoke, although Grandma and Grandpa smoke outside when there are guests. I am all in favor of this. The problem is, word got back to Grandma and upset her so much that she cried thinking we would abandon the long tradition of celebrating at her home. Now, no one wants to discuss it because we are afraid of hurting her feelings. However, some of the in-law children believe that in order for change to happen, Grandma needs to know we are serious, and the subject should be broached by one of her children. What do you think? Should we do it? What if Grandma doesn't budge? Is it OK to boycott and not attend? That may cause a rift between some spouses. What about visiting Grandma in general? Is it out of the question to demand that all visits with the great-grandchildren take place in a nonsmoking location? — Smokeless in Seattle

DEAR SEATTLE:We understand your concern, but this visit is only for a single evening once a year. The children should be OK. If you are worried, open some windows, set up a fan, wear your warmest sweater and wrap the kiddies in lots of blankets. Christmas Eve is fraught with meaning for Grandma. One of her children can gently explain the problem and see what she says, but demanding a change will cause major friction. By all means, move the other family gatherings to nonsmoking locations, but let her have this one. There may not be too many more.

DEAR ANNIE:I take offense at the letter from "Price of Friendship," who said her friend's 8-year-old son has "a sailor's vocabulary." I am a Navy veteran of 28 years, and one of my many assignments was to teach young civilian men to become sailors. There was never a course on teaching them to use profane language, but I did teach a course on manners, courtesy and how to properly address people. — M.B. USN (Retired)

DEAR M.B.:We heard from quite a few retired navy personnel who objected to the reader's comment about a sailor's vocabulary. Perhaps it's time to retire this particular stereotype.

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