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I Couldn't Make Him Change His Ways
DR. WALLACE: Although I am not a teenager, I read your column regularly. Recently, I read a letter from a girl who could have been me when I was younger. I would like to address my letter to Alyssa from Wheeling, W.Va. She asked your advice about a guy who had three nasty habits. He smokes, drinks and abuses drugs. She said that she is a straight arrow and has never been involved in such unacceptable behavior and believes she could get him to stop all three nasty habits.
I, too, once believed I had the power to "help" someone change his ways. When I was 15, I dated a guy who was 17. He was very much involved in cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol and cocaine. He was bombed about every weekend. Sometimes he skipped school just to get high. My parents thought this guy was a loser and tried to get me to stop seeing him, but I still saw him because I thought my love would change him. I told him that I would stop seeing him if I ever caught him using cocaine again. I thought after he stopped using cocaine, I'd convince him to eliminate marijuana, then alcohol and finally tobacco.
Unfortunately, he didn't stop any of his "habits." In fact, things grew worse and he began stealing to support his addictions. After several run-ins with the law, he wound up in a halfway house in Texas. I finally came to the conclusion after feeling deprived, disappointed and frustrated, that I couldn't make him change because his love of drugs was stronger than his love for me. He was the only one who could change his life around.
Alyssa, please do yourself a big favor and do not try to change the guy you care for.
ELLA: Some people do change their nasty habits, but they first must want to change and then ask for help so that they can change. Thanks for your message; it's right on!
I'M A VERY MATURE 16-YEAR-OLD
DR. WALLACE: I really need your help. Last week, I met a super nice guy at the mall. We talked for about two hours and when it was time for me to go home, he asked me for my telephone number, and I gave it to him. Last night, he called and asked me to go out with him to a movie and dinner.
I was flattered and said yes, unless my mom says no. Well, my mom said no because Mike is 19 years old. She said that the age difference was too great. I disagree. I'm the one who knows him, and I know the age difference isn't too great. I'll admit that he is very mature for 19 (He also smokes and says he drinks on occasion), but I'm also a very mature 16-year-old. Many take me to be 19, both in looks and in my mental makeup. Do you think I should be able to go out with Mike? My mom said if you said yes, she would reconsider. - Pam, St. Paul, Minn.
PAM: I'd really like to be a good guy and give you the answer that you want, but I agree with mom that, at 16, a three-year age difference is just too great.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at email@example.com. To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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