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Parents:
“How can I get my girlfriend's dad to trust me?”

Dear Annie,

My girlfriend and I have been going out for six months now, and as far as we can tell, we're in love with each other (or at least I am with her -- it feels much stronger than any crush I've ever had). But the problem is that her dad is extremely overprotective. She has sat down with her dad and explained that she knows what he's worried about, and even gone into detail about everything to prove it to him. But he still won't let us go anywhere together.

The only time that we went somewhere together was at a Halloween party at a nearby skating rink, and only because he didn't know I would be there. And, still, her brother was there the whole time. My grades are nothing but A's, and thanks to you I haven't had any office referrals since 5th grade, and even that was only in self-defense. I've never done anything to hurt anybody on purpose.

How can I get him to trust me?

Confused

Dear Confused,

You sound like a very intelligent, caring, and responsible young man. And I have no doubt that you are completely "trustworthy," but here's the thing, you have no control over whether your girlfriend's father lightens up or not. That would be a choice he makes, one way or another. What I'm saying is that there isn't anything specific that you can do to "get him" to trust you.

But all is not lost! This is something that needs to be worked out between your girlfriend and her dad. So she has to be the one to negotiate with her father.

My suggestion is that she talk to her dad and tell him that she'd like him to get to know you better. (It's much harder to distrust someone when you've had an opportunity to sit and talk with him and see what kind of an individual he really is.)

By having you over to her house to spend time with the family it's more likely that her dad will begin to feel more comfortable with you. When that happens he's likely to ease up on his restrictions. And when he does you and your girlfriend must be sure that you ALWAYS behave in a way that will ADD to her father's trust and not lessen it. That means following the rules about curfew, etc.

So first step is for your girlfriend to talk to her dad about having you come over to spend time with the family. Hopefully Dad will be open to that.

In friendship,

Annie

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