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O C T O B E R '98


Dear msX
Ok I do not know how to begin. Well, me and my boyfriend were extremely in love for a long time. It all went downhill when I found out that he cheated on me. We broke up even though we still loved each other. I was too stubborn to forgive him. He tried to get me back but I wouldn't talk to him. Finally though I did forgive him overtime and we remained friends. Now he is with the girl he cheated on me with who is in a way you could say a friend of mine. I never stopped loving him but I figured he had moved on. Just recently he told he had been holding inside the fact that he never stopped loving me and in great surprise I told him the same. Only we have the problem of his new girlfriend whom he has grown to care for very much and so have I, as I have gotten to know her better. He is torn between the two of us.
There is also the problem of all the people that I care about that would be affected if me and my ex got back together. Some would be upset for selfish reasons, others would just worry about me since he had hurt me so much before. Also I don't especially like being tied down, even though I am the most faithful person to this guy. Me and my ex are considering trying to have a secret relationship and seeing how it goes. I know it sounds crazy but I want to be with him so much. It seems the only easy solution. I am so close to letting my guard down and sneaking around with him so that I can be happy. I know there are consequences to this but I'm just not worrying about that right now. I figure I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I just need someoneís opinion, there are so few people who would understand my situation. No one understands why I love this guy so much after everything we've been through. People say I should just give it up and move on but I can't. I just need your opinion please.
Signed, Cheated On

Dear Cheated On,
If you are truly in love with this fellow, and he's really in love with you, there should be no question of what you should do. Your concern for the other girl is honorable, but this sacrifice you are proposing making would serve no one well in the future. Was she looking out for your best interests when she first became involved with him? Would she want to be with him if she knew his heart was with you?

And he is certainly no innocent in this situation. He's cheated on you and he wants to cheat on her. Seems like he's got a jones for what he can't have. And, if he truly, truly loved you, he would end his other relationships, he wouldn't just string 'em along (which is much meaner than breaking it off in the long run). Why is so important that this girl's feelings not be hurt?

Sneaking around can be exciting. A secret love affair can be very intoxicating, even fun. But, if you are investing your heart in a secret affair, you can lose bigtime. And, if you're just in it for the thrill, then that's another story...go enjoy! But don't call it true love because if it were love, you'd both want to be sharing and shouting about it from the rooftops, not sneaking around. Maybe if you just need to spend a little time with him to see if it's real, then go for it, meet him once or twice, see if it's worth going public with. But, don't let him have his cake and eat it, too. You're worthy of much more than being someone's secret.

Good luck,

Dear msX
ok, my problem isn't that bad, but it just nags at me all the time. I am 18 years old. I went out with "Kyle" for 3 months. we had a great relationship- the best Iíve ever had with anyone. he was outgoing, funny but also very understanding. we could tell each other everything and we pretty much did. then one day, out of the blue, he calls me and said that he just wants to be friends. I was shocked, and later I found out that he had a new girlfriend. I was really pissed. then I got over him and we have almost no contact with each other. now, it's been almost 9 months since we broke up and in the meantime, I have started dating "mark". mark is somewhat shy, but he's a really good listener and a good friend but also more than that. we have fun together, but the problem is, I can't seem to open up to him. it's not just with him, either. I have started keeping things inside and not telling people about my feelings (something I never used to do) Iím afraid it will drive apart all my relationships with friends, etc, because I can't seem to tell people things anymore. also, I really really like mark and I really like to be with him, but I don't know if I could love him. it's too soon for me to love him anyway cause we haven't been going out that long, but I just don't know if I can do it. I find myself wanting to love him and loving things about him, but I can't seem to even IMAGINE telling him that I love him. I just don't want to get hurt. OK, now here's the REAL problem. I just saw Kyle the other night and Iíve been thinking about him ever since. Iíve been thinking about the relationship that we had and trying to figure out what the heck went wrong. something keeps telling me that I should wait for him. I guess it's just wishful thinking that I want to get back together with him or something. I don't know why! I thought I was way over him and I really do like mark a lot. besides, Kyle is still going out with that girl he broke! > up with me for. I feel angry with her and I know I shouldn't but when I see them together, I just want to tear them both apart. it shouldn't matter to me anymore though, b/c I have mark. what the heck is wrong with me???
Signed, hurt angry confused"

Dear Hurt, Angry, Confused,
Let me see if I understand your problem. Kyle ended a relationship with you that you would have preferred to continue. He is dating another girl now, but your worlds still cross from time to time. You are now dating Mark, who is a nice guy, but doesn't set your world on fire. You are still attracted to Kyle and, if you look into yourself, you don't see much of a future with nice guy Mark. And, you feel reticent to talk about your feelings because of your experience with Kyle. Did I get it right?

I believe this is just a chapter in your life and you are making it into the whole story. Mark might not even be a full paragraph in the chapter. There are a lot of pages in front of you. Believe that somewhere within these pages there will be a man who you can open up to, who will make you sizzle, who will love you back. You're not going to meet this man if you attach yourself to a Mark or spend your time daydreaming about a reconciliation with Kyle.

I would suggest you look toward the future and put yourself into situation where you can meet new people. Sometimes we have "in-between" periods when there is no romantic love in our lives. This is okay. It gets us ready for the next chapter. And, maybe Kyle will be a character in some future chapter. You never know.

As for the your lack of trust and sharing secrets, a best friend, male or female, is the best person to meet these needs. Once a relationship is cemented, then it is time to share your inner self. Before that, find a good friend to play with...together you'll meet lots of other interesting people and you can share your observations and feelings with him/her.

Whatever you do, don't sell yourself short.

Dear msX
I don't really know how to start this letter. My problem is kinda complicated. Iíll try to explain it the best I can. The center of my problem is that I have anxiety attacks. Iíve had them for as long as I can remember. I always start freaking out and stuff. it isn't really that bad. Iíve learned how to cope with them(if you can call it that). My problem is that it screws up my everyday life. a lot of times I can't do stuff with my friends and it makes me so mad. sometimes i get such bad attacks that I seriously think about killing myself. they just get so bad whereas I don't know if it's even worth living. I can't go out w/friends sometimes or have a boyfriend. I feel like a loser. Iím not ashamed of my anxiety or anything. a lot of people know about it but they don't really understand. I mean I don't blame them because I don't fully understand either. but it's really hard to talk to people about it sometimes. anytime I bring up that I want to kill myself to my friends they are like no you don't or if you kill yourself, then Iíll kill you. just stuff like that and then we move on to another topic. I don't know if I ever will actually kill myself because Iím to chicken or else it probably would've been done a long time ago. actually my anxiety is keeping me alive, in an odd sort of way. I also want to prove my parents wrong and become an actress but that's a whole other problem. I don't exactly know what Iím trying to get across, I guess I just needed someone to talk to. it kinda scares me that I wanna kill myself and I have these thoughts almost everyday. it sux because I have no one to talk to that will take me seriously. please don't say talk to a counselor because I don't feel comfortable talking to adults about this kind of thing. I don't really believe in their word of confidentiality.
signed, anxious

Dear anxious,

You poor you! Listen carefully...

Many people suffer from anxiety attacks. They are treatable. There are medicines that can help. Some of the stuff that we used to think was psychological turns out to be biochemical. That is to say, what you may be suffering from may be due to altered body chemistry. Please see a medical doctor. There are also herbal remedies that deal with depression, such as St. John's Wort. This might be an issue to take up on the Mind-Body-Spirit Board, as I am sure you are not the only one who suffers like this. Maybe if you make the bait to go out something you really want (like acting classes), you will motivate yourself to go out after your dreams. Seems like you have nothing to lose by trying.

As for your suicidal feelings, you frighten me. Suicide is final and tragic. It is something you can never take back. Twice in my life I have been affected by a suicide. It is wrenching just to witness the survivors' grief. Both victims must have felt life could never be better for them. Yet people who experience the pits, absolutely horrible existences, manage to get over it and move on to a better places. So, I think, if only these two had waited, they might, too, have experienced better times. You owe yourself a chance to see what the future holds for you.

I know you said that you were not into counselors, but maybe you have not yet found the right one. A therapist can literally save your life. If you choose to work with her, you can find the person you were meant to be. Keep looking until you find the one that fits you.

Good luck,

Dear msX

I saw that on the teen board you wondered how I was doing. I'm the 15 year old girl that wrote to you earlier. Thank you for caring so much.

I'll try to answer what I left out last time. I'm three months into my pregnancy. It's so weird saying that. Girls my age aren't supposed to deal with this! And it's hard. I go to a very open kind of high school (I'm a sophomore) and they will allow me to keep going to school throughout all of this.

I'm not sure I WANT to though. I get teased pretty much every day. Everyone thinks they're so funny when they say things like "Hey Amy--ever heard of a condom?" And it hurts so bad. you probably guessed my name is Amy. (kind of dumb the way I put that, huh?).Every day I hear people whispering, and I keep wondering what they will say when I LOOK really pregnant. It will get worse, and I don't know if I can handle that.

My boyfriend is still with me though. I think he feels the same way. Everyone always asks him how it feels to "knock up" someone and it's so embarrassing and it hurts both of us I think. He's only sixteen, and I hate thinking that I'm ruining his life.

I talked to my parents. We had a counseling session- his parents, mine and us. And it did not go well. Not good at all. My dad is so angry ...I can understand that, but he acts like it was a one way thing. And it wasn't. He keeps trying to get me to say I was pressured or something, but I can't lie. I 'm just as responsible for this as my boyfriend is. You know that saying :it takes two to tango"? isn't that kind of ironic? Well my dad can't get that at all. My parents didn't know that this relationship was this serious. My mom was crying when I told her and said "Amy- I thought you were still a virgin". That really hurt me. because I knew I'd let her down.

I went to a doctor and he was very nice and all, but it's weird having talks with a doctor over "your baby" and stuff. What to eat, and vitamins, and all that. And I'm thinking about going to pregnant teen support groups. Maybe that would help?

Please answer. Sorry for going on so long. I guess I'm just so scared. Please answer. Thank you for listening!


Dear Amy,
I am touched that you want to correspond. You seem very together for a pregnant fifteen year old. Your letters show depth and maturity, I hope not at the sacrifice of your girlhood. Try to keep a little bit of the kid in you always, although this experience is certainly a "grower-upper."

If this was another time in history or another country, you might have been married already and considered a grown woman. Our culture delays adulthood, but still encourages sexuality. It is a very confusing place to grow up in, no?

I hope you are well,

Dear msX

It's even hard for me to write this down, because it's something that not even my best friends and my mom knows. But I think I need someone to help me.

I was raped by my friend two weeks ago. He was my friend I thought. I went over to his house to work on homework and he started telling me how pretty I was, and all that kind of stuff. I told him I didn't want to and then he got really angry and told me that he would kill me if I didn't let him do what he wanted. He's older than me and I was really scared. I kept telling him he didn't want to do this, but he raped me. I think it was rape because I said no, but he said it wasn't, because he wasn't holding a knife at my throat or beating me.

But he threatened me! I'm so scared and I feel so nervous because he says that he knows how much I liked it, and that he knows I wanted it. I'm so scared. Please help. I really could use it.

I'm fifteen by the way.
Signed, Raped

Dear Raped,
It really breaks my heart that this happened to you. You must be very frightened and confused. Let's try to figure out what your options are.

If you tell, you have to decide who you're going to tell. I would suggest an adult and if you're not comfortable with it being a parent, you could tell a counselor at school. Be prepared for them to want to report it to the authorities which will result in the detainment of this creep. You will have to give statements to the police and to lawyers. It will not be over with overnight, he will have the chance to defend himself from your accusations. You will receive rape victim counseling that will help you to deal with the aftermath. You will have experts to ask questions of. You will be tested to make sure this fellow didn't give you any diseases or make you pregnant. If you haven't already told your mom, I suspect that you feel that she will blame you in some way. Even if you went where you weren't supposed to, you did not ask to be raped. Try to trust in your grownups that they will see this is not your fault.

If you don't tell, what will happen? You will probably worry each time you encounter this person that it could happen again. And, if you don't tell, it might. To you or to someone else.
Rape is not a sexual act, it is a violent act. You might even start to believe that you asked for it. You might even start to believe that you deserved it. True, you won't have to rehash the whole ugly story if you choose to keep this secret. You can keep it in and have it eat at you from the inside until it finally comes out maybe years later, affecting your future relationships. In any case, you should get some counseling NOW.

Whichever choice you make will not be easy. That's what breaks my heart the most. Good luck, sweetie, just remember,
you did nothing wrong!

At the very least, please visit this site.
You'll find a toll-free
confidential hot line as well as other resources and guidance for survivors of sexual asault.
RAINN~Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network





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