Toronto Star

Woman can’t let go of crush from middle school

- Ellie Tip of the day A fantasy of future love doesn’t solve present loneliness. Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Email or visit her website, ellieadvic­ Follow @ellieadvic­e.

I’m 19. Back in Grade 7, 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. Suffering Distress

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 to 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 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 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? Frustrated Son

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, “Ys,” libraries and community centres hold weekly gatherings for people isolated at home. Go with him, try a few, 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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