DR. WALLACE: I recently met a guy, and I later found out he was doing drugs. He literally said to me that if I dated him, he would quit using because he would have a good reason to do so. I haven't seen him for three months, but I hear from a mutual friend he is still doing drugs these days. How long should I wait for him to stop using? I would consider dating him if he was clean, but I don't want to be involved with a drug user. — Waiting for the Right Time, via email
WAITING FOR THE RIGHT TIME: This guy apparently does care for you, but his addiction has a firm grip on him and won't allow him to stop using drugs. He absolutely needs professional help. Encourage him to seek professional therapy and counseling. Find out where he can receive help in your area, and let him know a relationship with you is out of the question until he successfully enters treatment and begins to make true progress.
A person in his situation often benefits more by focusing first on dealing with the addiction problem before taking on a new relationship.
It's OK to pass the word through your mutual friend that you are rooting for his recovery and hope that he has the strength to enter rehab and get the help he needs. But do not see him romantically until he makes progress in receiving professional therapy.
READER CAN RELATE TO THIS SITUATION
DR. WALLACE: I really related to that young girl who recently wrote to you and said she sees her older sister as more attractive and more popular in high school.
I am the middle sister of five girls. I was always the "geeky" one. My appearance often was mocked at our school. I was frequently told that I would never have a boyfriend, so I eventually shied away from most social interactions. That perception changed during my freshman year of college.
In college, getting good grades and studying are much more valuable in a social setting. My willingness to help others with their studies also allowed me to find a great number of acquaintances, several of which grew into wonderful friendships. I soon found myself balancing an active social life with my rigorous studies and succeeding in a way that many others could not easily do. In addition, I had a great surprise: I found out that I wasn't as unattractive as my fellow students in my high school had led me to believe.
Please tell your young female readers that beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes. She will spend only a fraction of her life in high school. Ask her to enjoy as much of that time as she can, and remind her that high school perceptions truly are not etched in stone, nor do they last a lifetime. — Much Happier Now, via email
MUCH HAPPIER NOW: I find that many of those who have "been there and done that" and take the time to write to me about their experiences give excellent advice! You certainly fit into that category, and our readers and I thank you for sharing your own personal story. Successful personal experiences do provide great opportunities to provide hope and new perspectives for today's teens to consider.
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.
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