*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I wouldn't have dated him if I knew he was younger than me.
We met at a movie theater that was playing a popular vampire movie.
It was the heat of the summer. My best friend and I went to the movies to escape the heat. There's nowhere cooler than the movies when it's hot outside. Their air conditioning is the best, so much so that it's possible to freeze in the summer if you don't bring a sweater. We didn't bring sweaters.
We shivered in our seats and waited for the movie to start.
My friend and I were the only two people in the movie theater when two teen boys entered and sat down directly behind us. We giggled and blushed in the darkness.
The four of us talked throughout the entire movie. I still haven't seen the film in its entirety.
By the time the movie was over, I was smitten with one of the two boys. He said he was seventeen years old, and I was sixteen. We liked the same music, and we had the same taste in clothes and movies. It was a perfect match, or so it seemed.
We exchanged phone numbers and immediately began dating. I went to his house and met his parents. A few weeks later we celebrated his birthday at his house, and that's when I learned he had lied about his age.
When I counted the candles, his mother had placed on his birthday cake, there were a few candles missing. I counted them again.
His mother laughed.
As it turned out, he was just fifteen years old when we met. That's two years younger than he had claimed. We were celebrating his sixteenth birthday on a day when I expected him to turn eighteen.
When you're only sixteen, two years is a lot. Besides, who wants to start a relationship with a lie?
It didn't cause me to stop dating him, but it did cause me to stop trusting him.
I kept track of his lies. For example, he told me he had gone to college for two years before dropping out, but it turned out that he never attended college. He hadn't even graduated from high school, having dropped out at fifteen before I met him.
His small white lies didn't stop me from dating him. They only made me wary of him, which is understandable after finding out your boyfriend lied about his age.
If you're wondering whether you should continue dating someone who has misled you, ask yourself this:
Are their lies causing you mental stress?
Can they tell the truth about anything?
Do they make up stories because they lack the ability to have a normal conversation with you?
If the answer is yes to any of those questions, you might want to reconsider your relationship.
Had I asked him point-blank if he had been honest about his age sooner, I'm sure he would have come clean. I didn't know then that lying is a habit that needs to be broken through both honesty and patience.
In retrospect, the only thing I wish now is that he had been honest from the beginning because we're not together anymore, thanks in part to another of his lies.