Feeling grief over a past relationship
Dear Annie: I had a high school boyfriend 47 years ago but left him. He came to my house the day before I was marrying someone else and begged me not to marry him, but I did. Long story short, after getting divorced, I tried to find him, but I couldn’t. I married again and got divorced again. I then focused on trying to find him again only to find out he’s been dead since 2007. I don’t know how to process my guilt and grief and wondering what might have been. He never got married nor had any kids. Missing him after all these years. — Nostalgic and Regretful
Dear Nostalgic and Regretful: It’s easy to romanticize the things we don’t have, the relationships that could have been, the ones who got away. But think back to 47 years ago: There was a reason you left him. There was a reason you married someone else. You did the best you could with the information you had. Stop beating yourself up.
Dear Annie: My wife and I recently found out that our 19-year-old son has been smoking pot for about a year. We had been suspicious but didn’t have proof until last week. He says that it helps his anxiety (something we didn’t know he had), keeps him focused and helps him to have a decent appetite. He insists that it is not addictive, yet he does not want to give it up. He says that he usually smokes it in a remote area and then drives himself to wherever he is going. This is crushing to us on so many levels!
No. 1: We would like to see him deal with his anxiety through some other, safer means (a therapist maybe?); No. 2: He is not legally old enough in our state to have marijuana; No. 3: He insists that he doesn’t drive stoned, but it sounds like he has. What if he hurt someone?; No. 4: He has a friend whose sister, just a few years ago, used pot for her anxiety, and when that didn’t work, she went to stronger street drugs and eventually overdosed and died. When that happened, we had long talks with our children about drugs, and we thought they were smart enough not to get involved.
We don’t know what to do. Right now, we are switching health insurance, so we cannot see a doctor or therapist until he can be added to our new insurance. What should we do? I would love to turn in his supplier to the authorities, but he won’t give up the guy’s name. Any suggestions? — Worried for our Son
Dear Worried: If your son gets pulled over while under the influence of marijuana, he’ll get a DUI. And the fact that he’s underage could result in high fines or even jail time, depending on state laws. A lot of teenagers are under the impression that driving high isn’t an issue, so make sure he’s aware of the consequences.
His use of marijuana to self-medicate is a different problem entirely. He needs to address his underlying anxiety issues, rather than mask them with a drug. Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration until you are able to find a good therapist for your son.
“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now. Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.