I am sixteen, and I have had a boyfriend for a while. I made the mistake of having sex with him, but fortunately I did not get pregnant. However, my family found out and now they don’t trust me. They told me to end the relationship, but I can’t because I love him so much. I don’t know if what I feel is love, or if it’s just habit or affection. I want to do things right this time, but I don’t know what to do.

Dear Friend,

Sixteen is a difficult age. You are not a child, but you aren’t an adult either. You long for adult privileges and freedom, but your parents are there putting boundaries on your activities and relationships. It seems like they just don’t understand or don’t care about your feelings.

Unfortunately for you, research has shown that the human brain is not fully developed until the mid-twenties. At your age, the part of the brain that enables you to feel is not completely connected with the part of the brain that enables you to reason or think things through. So your feelings may seem more real to you than the consequences if you act upon those feelings.

Another way to say it is that your decision-making ability is not as well developed as your ability to experience emotions and feelings. Your feelings of love for your boyfriend are much stronger than your concern about preventing a possible pregnancy or disease.

That is why God gave you parents. Certainly not all parents are good ones, and certainly all parents make mistakes. But most of them care about their children and want to protect them from harm. It sounds like that is what your parents are trying to do.

One of the Ten Commandments is that you should honor your father and mother.(1) While you still live in their home and they provide financially for your needs, honor means to obey. That’s why the Apostle Paul also taught us to obey our parents.(2)

Someday, when you are able to live on your own and provide for yourself financially, you will no longer be obligated to obey. But until then, it is much safer and wiser to just accept the fact that they have the responsibility of protecting you by making rules that you must follow.

It is good that you admit that you are not sure whether what you feel for your boyfriend is love or whether you might be acting out of habit. It is also good that you want to do things right. We advise you to obey your parents and end the relationship with him completely. They know that, after having had sex with him one time, it would be almost impossible for you to keep from doing it again if you continued seeing him.

We wish you the best,

1 Exo 20:12
2 Eph 6:1