Question: Dear Luise: Well, how can I start off…I’m 16 years of age, and I’m going to be 17 in November. I have a boyfriend who loves me and his family loves me so much too. They treat me with respect and his mother is absolutely so very kind and generous with me. His father is a very nice man and I feel like he is my 2nd father and his mom as my 2nd mom. They are really nice people, nice enough to tell me that if I ever needed a place to stay, that I’m always welcome at their house, under no conditions. Now, I have a step-dad who isn’t very good at communicating with me. He expects me to know what goes on in his head and that I should know that he is mad or he is just tired of something. My mom is, well, a strange person. I sometimes don’t get her. It’s very difficult to be living in a home where there is a lack of communication. I feel like I am in prison. I only get to see my boyfriend once a week and I have a time limit of 3 hours. Once the timer hits 3 hours exact, my mom and my sister starts calling me like crazy, crazy like calling-hang up-call again crazy. And it makes me mad because I want to take advantage of the little time I have with him. Now, yesterday I had gone out with my boyfriend, and my mother let me hang out with him, but because my step-dad’s strict rules of my time limit being only 3 hours, I figured that I had 3 hours. Two and 30 minutes later when I had left the house to go see my boyfriend, I had my cellphone in my purse, and I always have it on vibrate because I am so use to having it like that. So I didn’t notice that my mom had already called me seriously 17 times. My sister then had called another 9 times. I got so frustrated with them and so fed up with everything that I just decided to go home. On the way home I called my mom back and asked her what her problem was and she began screaming at me saying that I had to be home this instant and that she said that she didn’t expect me to be gone that long and that 3 hours was no longer my limit, that it had only been 2 hours. I got so mad and annoyed that I began packing my things and my mom started asking me what the hell I was doing where was I going to go. Because of me being very angry, I decided not to talk back to her, only because I didn’t want to make her even more mad. My step-dad had called my sister but he didn’t know what was going on until I had told him that if I can leave and he said no, until I am 21. So I got mad because he had told me to shut the f*ck up and to stop saying stupid things, because I am still a little girl and he hung up on me. My step-dad can be very violent with words and sometimes if he is pushed far enough he does and will hit me. My boyfriend then texted me but he didn’t know what was going on either. I had told him that I was packing my stuff and I would like to leave, so asked me, “Well, if you want, you know you can stay at my house. But if you want me to take you to your aunt’s house, it’s alright with me because I just want you to be safe. But just remember, this is all up to you.” So I had asked him to come to my house, but right as I was going for the door, my mom got up and started hitting me saying that I was never going to leave this house. My boyfriend had called me saying that he was outside. But then my mom started threatening me saying that if I leave, she’s going to call the cops on me and that I need my dad to be home in order for him to let me go. So I had just decided to tell my boyfriend to just leave because my aunt was coming over to calm me down. And after she did, I eventually had to give up and go back to my small room. And now I am terrified, and really scared about how my step dad’s reaction is going to be. I’m really scared. I have many things going through my mind about what’s going to happen and if I’ll ever get to see my boyfriend again and if this is going to ruin the relationship I have with them. S.
Answer: Dear S. I don’t know about the laws where you live…but in most places you have to be 18 before you can make the decision to leave home. Your boyfriend’s family may have had the best of intentions, but to offer a place to stay when it would possibly be illegal for you to go there, was misleading…don’t you think?
I honestly don’t know what you can do but follow the ever-changing rules your parents are enforcing. It is all about fear. They want you to be safe and fear that you will get into trouble if left to your own devices. Many parents do that and create such havoc that their teens run away, some to the streets…where they die.
It’s so complex. All I can see for you is to bend to their dominance and hope that your boyfriend will stick by you and see you through this. It might help to talk with your priest, minister or school counselor but many times it makes things worse at home, if they find out about it.
A year from November, you will be free. As far as I know, they cannot make it age 21. I would give everything I had to school and put the relationship on the back burner until then. I know that will be really hard…but otherwise it will drive you nuts. Blessings, Luise