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Dr. Wendy Walsh
I like this boy who is 21. I’m 17 and will be 18 soon. My mom says it’s all right to talk to this boy, but my dad said I can only talk and be friends with him. I have anxiety and he thinks I’m not ready to date.
What do I do, and who do I listen to?
Listen to your gut and pay attention to the law. The state you are in may not even allow you to date a legal adult until you are one yourself.
As for listening to your gut, move slowly and pay attention to your feelings. If you feel pressured to advance to a physical relationship, even kissing, before you are ready, respect that feeling.
It’s OK to slow down. There are plenty of other men out there, and you have lots of time to practice relationships without getting your heart broken.
Your father just wants to protect you from that pain. (And by the way, a 21-year-old is a man, not a boy, so don’t expect him to be engaging in a juvenile relationship with you.)
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