Break This Cycle!

By Dr. Robert Wallace

June 3, 2020 5 min read

DR. WALLACE: I dated a jerk for over six months and finally got fed up with his lies and terrible behavior, and I dumped him. It was difficult to do because I really thought at that time that I cared for him. He was actually the third guy in the last three years who had treated me with disrespect.

I have been dating a nice new guy for just over a month. He actually looks similar to my recent ex, and my new guy treats me with much more respect, but our relationship feels a little boring since there are not the big ups and downs, like I had experienced previously. Both of us are 19 and have good full-time jobs, and we get along just fine. For some crazy reason, I tend to think and daydream about my ex more than I should. I know he was not good for me overall, but there were instances when he really made me happy. However, those times always dissipated quickly, and difficulties would again become the norm.

I'm worried now that I will always be thinking of the wild times I experienced with my ex and will long for those experiences again. Of course, I don't ever seem to remember the terrible bad times and really low points I experienced in that relationship — which led to its demise.

Will I ever be happy with a normal guy like the one I am seeing now? I'm worried that I'll always long for more danger, craziness and passionate ups and downs. I know what I went through was not good for me, and I did end that relationship. I hear through mutual friends that my ex is now putting another young lady through the exact same type of emotional roller coaster that I've just gotten off. — Should Know Better, via email

SHOULD KNOW BETTER: Since you enjoy dating your new guy, and he treats you with respect, I think you should absolutely keep seeing him. By your own admission, you've only been dating him a short time, so it would be wise to keep building this foundation of a good, stable, developing relationship.

If, in your past, you were only attracted to unstable jerks, you may have previously suffered bouts of low self-esteem. It's great that you were able to recognize that you were in an unhealthy relationship and that you ended it yourself. Congratulations. I've received hundreds of letters over the years from young ladies lamenting the terrible relationships they had been in for years, which they never felt strong enough to end — even though they knew they should have.

Continue to give yourself a chance to break your cycle by investing your time and effort into seeing where your current relationship goes. I trust that as time goes on, you will come to value and respect your current guy's personality and stability more and more.


DR. WALLACE: My boyfriend smokes, and I don't, but the other day, I asked him for one of his cigarettes. I fully expected he would quickly give me one, but he actually told me that he liked the fact that I'm a nonsmoker and told me he would prefer not to give me any of his "smokes."

He wasn't mean or controlling about it at all; he just said that he liked me the way I am now. I did hear him say once, when I first met him about a year and a half ago, that he wished he could quit smoking, but he has not quit, obviously.

My question is this: Do teen guys actually prefer teen girls who do not smoke? I'm 18, and my guy is 19. — Nonsmoker, via email

NON-SMOKER: This is a topic I have received many letters on over the years. My archives show a huge percentage of teen boys prefer girls who do not smoke or vape, and the reverse is also true. Teen girls prefer nonsmoking dates and significant others.

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

Photo credit: Pexels at Pixabay

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