DR. WALLACE: I really need your help, so I'm writing to you hoping you may be able to provide me some advice! Last month, I broke up with my boyfriend because I thought I wanted to be free to date around and have one last fling during my senior year of high school. A lot of girlfriends have discussed this, and many of them have decided that they are gong to do the very same thing — have one more dating experience while we're all still in high school. Some girls I know and am close to now are in brand-new relationships already!
However, in my personal case, I now realize with dread that it was a huge mistake to break up with my loyal boyfriend, and I honestly think that God is now punishing me for being so stupid to do this in the first place. A lot has been going on in my life lately; my dear grandmother died, I wrecked my family's car, and one of my best friends recently died of an opioid overdose.
My life is a total wreck. I need my former guy now more than ever. The time we spent together was wonderful. He was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I really blew it by letting him go and telling him that I wanted to date others and that he should do the same.
I want to tell him that I still care for him and want him back, but I don't know how. Please help me. I care for him, but I haven't got the courage to face him given what I've done. He did absolutely nothing wrong, and I dumped him. One problem I have now is that he lives in a town about 35 miles from me. — Full of Regret, via email
FULL OF REGRET: You are not being punished. Things just seem more devastating when you can't share your grief and worries with someone close to you, especially in a case of self-inflicted pain caused by your own mistake.
Write your ex-boyfriend a handwritten letter, and mail it to him right away. I know in this age of social media, a Facebook post or a text or an email would be the usual way to make contact, but I trust a handwritten letter would be better received. Take the time in your letter to tell him exactly what you have told me — that breaking up with him was a huge mistake and that the time you spent with him was wonderful. Let him know that you care for him and want to rekindle the relationship if he is willing to forgive you and give you a second chance. But do this in a spirit of generosity and concern for him, not one only focused on you and your needs. Do mention that his newfound freedom might have caused him to reconsider seeing you again, but mention a few of your best times together and let him know what those times meant to you ... and hopefully meant to him as well.
He may or may not want to get back together with you, but either way, he'll be warmed to know how deeply you still care for him. Life teaches us new and often hard lessons fairly regularly, and I have no doubt you've learned not to be flippant with relationships you truly value. This lesson, if well learned and applied, will truly benefit you throughout your lifetime.
THE HEARTBREAK OF RUNAWAYS
DR. WALLACE: My 16-year-old son and my husband (his stepfather) got into a huge fight several days ago, and my son has left home over this tumultuous event. He took some of his clothes and even closed his savings account at our local bank.
I don't know where he is, and I am very worried. He is a good kid, and his leaving our home is a big shock to me.
Numerous friends and neighbors have told me that runaway hotlines are in operation, and of course I have already contacted several and provided a description of my son. Just in case my son would be reading your column in another newspaper, please print the number of a national hotline. It could also help other teens that have run away from home without permission. — Heartbroken Mother, Joliet, Illinois
HEARTBROKEN MOTHER: The National Runaway Safeline number is 1 (800) RUNAWAY, or 800 786-2929. This is a toll-free, nationwide number for use by young people who are separated from parents or guardians. It operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Through it, runaways anywhere in the United States can find shelter, food, medical help and local counseling. The line can establish contact — on the runaway's own terms — with someone back home through a message relay.
This is a valuable service that can save a child from being harmed, compromised or lost to criminal activities, and it can, in some cases, provide a foundational basis to establish a new and improved relationship with parents or guardians.
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 protected] 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.