Age 15, Chicago, Illinois, USA
To My Homecoming Date,
I should never have said yes. I really wanted to go with you because I’ve always loved talking with you. You made me laugh and you made me feel seen. But I ruined that.
I never asked my parents for permission to go to the dance with you. I didn’t ask because I knew they’d say no. I’m forbidden to date anyone of a different faith. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.
I’m not sure how my parents found out, but they did and they were furious. It was torture going to the dance—they said I had to honor my commitment and that it would have been cruel to leave you without a date. But personally, I think they did it to punish me.
Because the whole time we were together it was impossible to have fun. I knew that once the clock struck midnight—that was my curfew—it was over between us. I knew I had to tell you I could never go out with you again. I’m sorry I hurt you by breaking up with you the next day. You didn’t deserve that. I know you were confused.
My parents grounded me. They said I broke their trust. They said that if I didn’t want to follow their rules, I could find another place to live. They took away my phone and my computer for four months. I just got them back. Whenever I needed a computer for homework, they supervised.
You’re with someone else now. Every time I see you, I look away. Being at home has been awful. My parents don’t trust me and they’re using me as an example for my younger siblings.
Every day I wish I had the courage to tell you the truth. Maybe someday I will. Maybe you’ll read this and know that I’m sorry. (I put the card for this website in your locker.)
What did I learn?
I knew the rules and I shouldn’t have broken them. I knew it was an impossible situation, but selfishly, I really wanted to go to the dance. My selfishness hurt another person. I wish I had thought about the consequences. One night of fun, which wasn’t fun at all, turned into months of hell. I have no idea how to earn my parents trust since they keep telling me that they don’t trust me anymore.
I Hope You Forgive Me
Dear “Homecoming Hell,”
Thank you for sharing your story. We’re sending you a thousand hugs.
Is it possible for you to sit down and talk to your parents and tell them how you’re feeling? Or write them a note? It may be really difficult, but it sounds like things are incredibly tough at home. We hope they’ll listen to you. But if not, we’re sending you strength to be gentle and kind to yourself. We are certainly not experts on every religion, but isn’t G-d compassionate? Forgiving? Loving?
We do hope that your Homecoming date will see this post, but if he doesn’t, please seriously consider talking with him. We bet he’ll feel much better knowing the truth and will be understanding. Plus, who knows what he may have thought, right?
Please, please, please let yourself off the hook on this. You seem like an amazing, caring person. Know that we care about YOU!