Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 8:48 pm | Fair 56º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Forgiving a Cheating Boyfriend, TMI on the Internet, Friend Who’s Depressed

Question from Nicole

My boyfriend of two years cheated on me about a month ago and I took him back. He was sorry and begged for another chance; I forgave him, but I can’t seem to forget it and find myself getting jealous over everything and I honestly hate it. All his friends are slutty and that makes it so much worse.

I guess what I’m saying is that ever since he cheated I grew these trust issues that I can’t control, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I should call a break, or if I actually never really forgave him.

He’s 18 and going to college two hours away in 25 days. I won’t be seeing him everyday anymore making me worry about what he’s doing with other girls. Therapy is not really an option right now either.

Weezy

There are a lot of issues that therapy can help you address. But barring any underlying psychological factors, this is one of those life lessons that you just need to face.

When a romantic partner cheats, you have two clear choices. You can either forgive him and trust him again, or you can leave him.

A lot of people choose neither of those two options. They take the person back but do not trust him or forgive him. With a little bit of perspective this can only be seen as deliberately and specifically choosing pain. I know it feels like breaking up will inflict a big heartbreak, but staying with him and doubting him will trigger a thousand little heartbreaks every day.

It sounds like you have not reached any level of trust with this guy and he is about to go off to college. How will your day to day look? I see you feverishly looking for texts and checking social media in search of some measure of reassurance. That is not how a relationship is supposed to look and feel.

I highly recommend that you take a break from this guy. Let him go off to college. Grieve. And take a good look at how much sunnier your future could be.

Here are additional opinions from Ask Honest Girls:

(Ask Honest Girls video)

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Question from Anita

I’m freaking out. I’m 16 and I’m on a kid group chat. I’ve been on it for, like, over a year. We are all very close. I don’t know any of these people in person. I know they are all real and not scary people.

I made a mistake today and told them where I go to school, and I am terrified now. I can’t even sleep now. I’m so afraid of what’s going to happen. I deleted the app but I feel so stupid and I feel violated. I don’ know what to do. I’m having break downs. They all shared their schools, too, and laughed at me when I said I was afraid and made jokes about it.

Weezy

This is nothing to laugh about. But when kids flagrantly disregard the safety rules and measures put in place by their parents they do often find it funny ... until something goes horribly wrong.

I am not trying to scare you. I am only telling you that what you are describing is a classic depiction of peer pressure. You say you feel violated. but bear in mind that you probably feel more disappointed in yourself.

I point this out because it is really important that you develop the capacity to own your behaviors and understand that they are often the direct cause of your feelings. You can be angry at your friends for laughing at something dangerous. They are responsible for that.

But the person who typed her school’s name into that app is you. Only when you hold yourself responsible for what you have done will you learn from your mistakes. You get to experience uncomfortable feelings and consider actions that will prevent a recurrence of them.

I believe that your level of fear is disproportionate to the likelihood that you are in any direct danger. However, you don’t really know if all of the people in this group chat are kids like you. NEVER EVER go to meet one of these people in person without a parent being present. NEVER EVER get into a car with someone you do not know in real life.

And you should tell your parents what happened. They love you and, yes, they will be angry. But it is so helpful for parents to know more about the technologies that their children are using and to see how easy it is for a wonderful kid like you to make this sort of mistake.

Josh Shipp has more online safety tips for teens:

(Teen Expert Josh Shipp video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Todd

Hello, Weezy. I have this friend I’ve known for eight years. We met in an online game and are like brothers, but we have never met in person. The thing is he’s always so depressed. He just graduated high school and I’m in university. He’s always telling me that his life sucks and he wants to kill himself. His mom put him in therapy and he’s on medication, but he hates it.

Nothing helps. He’s very insecure about his acne and his mom spends so much money on dermatologists. He’s spoiled but so unhappy. Nothing works ... I’m running out of stuff to say because I have been so busy with school. He is always guilt-tripping me, saying I’m the only person who calms him down.

I’m getting sick of this to the point where I don’t care. Is that bad? What do I do, because nothing works for him? He’s always just complaining even though he has help from his family?

Weezy

Two things:

» You are a very caring, kind and loving person.

» He is not your responsibility.

Both of these can be true. Both are true.

Even if you did know him in real life he would be placing too much of a burden on you. His unhappiness is caused by a combination of elements that could include factors involving his brain chemistry and his circumstances.

As a member of his social circle your only responsibility is to be kind to him. You are not supposed to fix him. You are not obligated to find the magical combination of words that would end his suffering. He and his family must work together toward that goal.

You are not only a friend to him. He is also a friend to you, and as your friend he needs to stop putting this much pressure on you. If he won’t do that, you get to distance yourself from him. That may in fact propel him to figure himself out and find the happiness he deserves. It will also allow you to understand and embrace the limitations of friendship.

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Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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