DR. WALLACE: I'm 17, and I'm a senior in high school. I take part in school activities and have a lot of friends at school. My parents divorced last year, and I decided to live with my mother because I think my father is to blame for the split.
My mother has a boyfriend. He's a nice man, and I like him very much. He's from California and plans to move to the Los Angeles area in a month. My mother will move, too, and they want me to accompany them. I love my mom, but I want to stay in St. Louis and graduate with my classmates. The only problem is that I would have to live with my father, and I don't respect him too much these days. What should I do? — Torn Between Two Cities, St. Louis
TORN: I usually encourage parents to let their children graduate with their classmates if at all possible. In your case, however, I don't think it would work, as you have no relative with whom you could stay other than your father. You're faced with a dilemma that has no ideal solution. The better course of action, in my opinion, is to move to California with your mother. Keep in touch with your friends in St. Louis the best you can while you're in California. You might end up going to college in the St. Louis area or even finding a job there once you are a bit older and living on your own. For now, the safest path is to stay with Mom.
DISCUSS FUTURE OF RELATIONSHIP; YOU WIN EITHER WAY
DR. WALLACE: I am 18 and have been friends with this guy I've known pretty well for three years. We are both high school graduates, and he is now in college. When he calls me from college, he talks to me as if we have a romantic relationship. However, when we are together, the romance is gone and he treats me just as a friend. I'm very confused about the mixed signals he's sending my way. What do you suggest I do? I kind of feel in limbo and don't want to "make a move" that could jeopardize this great friendship. But on the other hand, I'd sure enjoy a little romance with the guy — especially since I know him so well and can really trust him. He consistently has looked out for my best interests and has been there for me over the years. Help! — Girl in Limbo, Cleveland
GIRL IN LIMBO: Three years is a very long time to be involved with a guy and not know his feelings toward you. It's time to straighten things out once and for all. The next time you are alone with him, tell him that you don't feel comfortable with the ambiguous nature of your relationship with him, but reassure him immediately that you only want a little clarification and that you're going to be a great friend to him either way. Then discuss the future relationship you plan to share — if he has similar interests.
If it is agreed that your relationship will be friendship-only, then accept that and start dating other guys. In this case, you can tell him: "It's a compliment that I wanted to discuss this topic with you. From here, you can absolutely count on my platonic friendship — as always." But if you both decide to begin a steady, more personal relationship, then it you might need to be just a touch assertive in the area of romance to move things along, albeit slowly. Quite a few guys do well romantically over the phone but need a little encouragement when they come face-to-face with the reality of a nice young lady right in front of them. Your guy might fit into this category.
Either way, you have a great friend whom you obviously enjoy spending time with and respect. You're going to be a winner either way, and you will enjoy the relief that comes from stepping out of "limbo" and into one definite role or the other.
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.