DR. WALLACE: I dated my former girlfriend for over two years. She was my first true love, and I really thought she had deep feelings for me as well. I guess I was wrong. Over Christmas, she went to a cousin's wedding and met a guy from another high school. She said she broke up with me because their meeting had been "love at first sight" for both of them and that he'd broken up with his girlfriend to go out with her.
Being dumped really shocked me, and after I stopped seeing her, I began to feel really depressed. I began to attend church regularly and met a nice girl there at a church party. We hit it off and have been seeing each other for over a month. I have a wonderful time when I'm with her, and she made me completely forget about my ex.
Out of the blue, my ex called me up last night and now wants to get back together because she and this other guy have parted ways. Now I'm confused because my ex says she made a big mistake and that she really does love me. What do you think I should do? — Two Girls Now Like Me, via email
TWO GIRLS: By all means, stay with your current girl. Thank your ex for calling you, but let her know you're dating someone else right now. Tell her you enjoyed your time with her but you have moved on and want to concentrate on building a good relationship with your current girlfriend.
Meanwhile, you can learn an important lesson from your ex's experience: "Love at first sight" is usually little more than a tempting illusion, and to wreck a good relationship over it is usually a big mistake. Relationships are indeed tricky for most people, especially for teens just beginning to date and build experiences. Remember to always treat others how you wish to be treated. And because you say you truly enjoy good times with your current girlfriend, I suggest you honor that relationship with your best efforts to keep the two of you happy together.
And when you tell your ex the "bad news," do so in a kind and gentle manner. Do not gloat or point out any mistakes she might have made. Everyone eventually learns from experience. I trust your ex will as well.
YES ON REWARDS PROGRAM
DR. WALLACE: I am the principal of a middle school located in Illinois. Our teachers and students want to start a "rewards program" for attendance, discipline and grades. I had them vote on this on the last day of school. The results showed that 90 percent of the students and 75 percent of the teachers favored the rewards program. I'm really not in favor of it. I'd like your opinion, knowing that you are a former high school principal. — Principal in Illinois
PRINCIPAL: Many school districts have utilized such a program with good success. The rewards should be related to school activities, such as free T-shirts with the school name and logo, free yearbooks, free lunches, etc. Parents and special after-school activity groups are usually willing to raise the money to fund the program. Count me among those in favor of such a program — especially since you have such a high percentage of favorability going into it. However, to provide you a safety net, you may want to initially approve such a program only for a limited period of time as an experiment. That way, should unforeseen problems arise, you can end it without backlash. And you can extend it if this program indeed delivers positive results on your campus.
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.