Can a sev­enth grade crush be some­thing big at 19?

The Hamilton Spectator - - WEATHER FORECAST - el­liead­

Q. I’m 19. Back in sev­enth grade, I re­ally liked a boy and knew he liked me too. But nei­ther of us did any­thing about it.

Four years later, he chose a med­i­cal field and I chose com­merce.

To­day, I’m liv­ing else­where pur­su­ing my stud­ies. I hadn’t thought of him for years.

Now I feel like telling him how much I liked him. But I don’t know his con­tact in­for­ma­tion or whether he’s on so­cial me­dia sites.

I feel like I can’t marry any guy but him. I’m hop­ing to reach him through his friends.

Should I wait for him? I know I should move on but I don’t know how.

I don’t want to re­gret for the rest of my life that I couldn’t tell him that he’s the one I al­ways wanted.

I just want to lighten my heart and hug some­one.

A. Your last sen­tence says it all — you’re lonely, yearn­ing for warmth and hugs.

This is nat­u­ral, when liv­ing far from home and fam­ily while meet­ing the de­mands of higher ed­u­ca­tion.

The boy you knew when you were both age 12 is a fond mem­ory but what he’s like now, his in­ter­ests, even his looks, are un­known to you.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth­while to try and reach out, see how he’s do­ing. It may start a friend­ship.

Note that I didn’t say “res­tart,” or sug­gest a sure ro­mance. What you each felt at 12 was, at most, a crush.

To place all your hopes and dreams for your fu­ture as an adult woman on that slim con­nec­tion would be un­re­al­is­tic and un­wise.

Even if you con­tact him, there’s lit­tle pos­si­ble for now be­yond so­cial me­dia ex­changes.

So do ask his friends about him, but don’t build a fan­tasy around what may hap­pen.

In­stead, ex­pand the life you’re liv­ing now.

Join a school or­ga­ni­za­tion, be open to mak­ing new friends, form a study group in your field.

You need con­nec­tions with oth­ers now, and where it’s pos­si­ble.

My dad’s go­ing nowhere

Q. My fa­ther’s stuck in “park.” He’s in his 60s, a re­cov­er­ing al­co­holic, cur­rently un­em­ployed.

For 10 years, as a re­sult of his drink­ing and pos­si­ble men­tal ill­ness (for which he won’t seek help), he’s de­stroyed many of his per­sonal and pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships.

He has trou­ble keep­ing a job and has pushed many peo­ple away, in­clud­ing our fam­ily and my mother, who re­cently left him.

My sib­lings and I reached out to him re­cently to re-es­tab­lish a re­la­tion­ship. We care about him and want him to get back on track. How­ever, he doesn’t ap­pear to be in­ter­ested in work­ing. I’m glad he’s not drink­ing any­more; he ap­pears con­tent watch­ing tele­vi­sion all day and tak­ing money from his par­ents, both in their late 80s.

I worry about his fu­ture. The rest of the fam­ily’s in no po­si­tion to sup­port him fi­nan­cially.

He needs to change his life but what can I do to help?

A. He’s al­ready made a sig­nif­i­cant change by stop­ping drink­ing, and needs your ac­knowl­edge­ment of that suc­cess.

Your con­cern’s valid, of course. But he also needs sup­port to move for­ward.

Se­niors’ cen­tres, YMCAs, li­braries, and com­mu­nity cen­tres, hold weekly gath­er­ings for peo­ple iso­lated at home. Go with him, try a few, and start con­vers­ing with oth­ers along with him.

Mean­while, with en­cour­age­ment, he may find a sense of pur­pose in use­ful, part-time, work.

Ac­com­pany him to a coun­sel­lor to talk about his in­ter­ests and op­tions.

If he needs a re­al­ity check re­gard­ing his fu­ture re­sources, the coun­sel­lor may be the best per­son to con­vey that.


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