I’ve been secretly dating a guy for a year and hiding it from my parents

Last updated on October 25, 2020


Hi Mr. Hamilton,

I’m 17. I’m a Christian and born again. I’m worried about this fact: I like this guy so much. I want to be with him, and he even told me he wants to marry me. He has accepted to wait for sex as he knows what I believe. I feel like we will go far together. But my father is a preacher. I’ve never asked him personally, but I think actually I do know by his preachings that he wouldn’t allow me to go out with this guy. My mother is even worse. She has already told me she would “kill” me if I had. I like the guy and we’ve been together for a while but in secret, and I feel like I am sinning by lying to them. I don’t know if I should keep going out with the guy or stop just for my parents’ sake.

Please help me! I’m confused.


First off, it is never acceptable to lie for any reason. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

In this case, you are lying because you don’t know your parents’ response. You assume they will object, but you don’t know this to be a fact. But by lying about the situation, you are saying that you think they may be right in refusing your dating this young man and that there is actually more going on so you felt the need to hide it. Thus, you show no trust in your parents’ judgment and also show yourself unwilling to discuss a situation as a reasoning adult with them. I don’t think either is what you mean to say.

Since you’ve concluded that your parents would object to this young man marrying you, I assume there was a logical reason why you reached that conclusion; yet, you never mention what is wrong with the young man. That leaves me little to go on. I can only assume it is something more than the fact he is male.

Because of this, I can’t say whether you should continue seeing this guy or not. But I think you should get your parents’ input, even if in the end you decide you don’t agree with their reasons. At the moment you are not old enough to marry. But in a year you will have the right to make your own decision. It is best to get multiple people’s views before making a serious decision, such as who you are going to marry.


Mr Hamilton,

Thank you for the help, but maybe I expressed myself wrongly. I know my parents’ mentality. I don’t need to ask them if I could date, I know they would say, “You can’t have a boyfriend. You have to study, go to university, find a job, etc. and then think about somebody to marry!” And not even that, they have this kind of African mentality that having a boyfriend is wrong! That’s why I didn’t want to involve them. I’m not hiding anything. I am a born again Christian as I said, and I believe in God’s principles. I also read your book “Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Girls,” and I agree with everything you said, so I can boldly say that I know am not sinning in my relationship! Actually, I know am too young to marry now. I just put down that just to make you understand how committed he is to me, and that we really love each other.


This is good to know. More often than not I get notes from people who say less than they mean. In my defense, I took your statement “I feel like I am sinning by lying to them” literally. And you did say this man was your boyfriend secretly, so it does get confusing when you then say that you are not hiding anything.

Now, you are certain that your parents’ concern is two-fold. First, they will be concerned that you having a boyfriend will distract you from getting prepared for life. Such a concern does have some merit. Concerns about a relationship can be distracting. A second concern that you hint at and not mention is the concern that trying to maintain a relationship through the rest of high school and college will be difficult, especially in the realm of keeping yourself pure from sin. I know you are committed to the Lord, but it is best to be honest in facing what will be a challenge to you over the years.

The last concern is born from their culture. I suppose that they prefer either a parent arranged marriage or a courtship model where the man, when he is ready to marry, comes to the father to ask for permission. I assume it is the latter. Again there is some merit to the view. One of the reasons fornication is a problem is that people pair off into exclusive arrangements before they are ready. They start “playing” at marriage and see themselves as “almost” married when they really are not. The result is excuses to do things that should only be done in marriage.

If I may be so bold, why not have an understanding with the man that you love that you would like to marry him when he and you are both ready for marriage, but for your parents’ sake you don’t wish to call yourself his girlfriend. That status will be his to earn when he is ready for marriage and asks your father for your hand. Until that day you will be close friends, and in this way, it will be clear that the world’s idea of boyfriend and girlfriend hanky-panky will not enter your relationship.

In other words, don’t borrow trouble in advance. For now, he is a boy you like and are friends with. Your intentions are that it will become something more when you are both ready, but there is no rush at the moment. There is no need to claim a “status” in the eyes of others. There will be time enough for that later when you are both ready.


Thank you so much. You’ve really helped me! It is true we could be close friends without claiming any status in the eyes of others! I never thought about this option, or maybe I did but I think I had to hear that from someone else before I could believe it was a good idea. Thank you so much. I will talk with him and see how it goes!

Thanks! God bless you!