DR. WALLACE: I’m 16 and have a huge problem with my mother. We live alone.

My mother has this hang-up about me being ill. I guess she doesn’t believe that I can get sick. I didn’t miss a day of school the last school year, but I should have. At least four or five times, I had a splitting headache or a sore throat and my mom made me go to school because, in her words, “You really aren’t hurting.” Mom doesn’t work, so I wouldn’t be home alone.

I have one and a half more years of high school remaining, and I don’t want to win the perfect attendance award just because my mom can’t understand that I can be sick enough to stay home once in a while. Please tell me how I can overcome this problem. — Forced to Show Up No Matter What, via email

FORCED TO SHOW UP: You don’t belong at school when you are not feeling well. It’s not fair to you or to your fellow students if you happen to have a contagious illness. If Mom makes this mistake again, go directly to the nurse’s office and explain the difficult position you’re in. When the nurse calls Mom and informs her that you should come home, Mom might just come to the realization that it’s actually possible for her daughter to be sick. If you don’t have a nurse at your school, talk to your counselor. The results should be the same.

DR. WALLACE: I’m 16, and so is my boyfriend. We love each other very much and plan to get married shortly after we graduate from high school. My boyfriend had been sexually active with his previous girlfriend, and I had been a virgin before we started a loving sexual relationship. Sharing sex with him is the most wonderful experience I have ever had. He said that having sex with me is the ultimate because we deeply love each other.

I agree with you that having sex before marriage is a huge mistake — unless the couple is sure that they are deeply in love. Being in love makes having sex beautiful. I know that you won’t print my letter, but I wanted you to know my feelings on premarital sex. — Happily Active, Chicago

HAPPILY ACTIVE: Your immature sexual fling is called lust, not love. When immature sexual feelings take place, the young lady is severely at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, emotional overload and pregnancy. I’ve received thousands of emails and letters from young women over the years that came to regret their premarital affairs and, in many cases, the impact that sex had on their relationship. It often ends in a negative manner, and the end result quite often is a messy breakup.

This guy tells you that he loves you because he enjoys his sexual encounters with you. He probably told the same story to his ex-girlfriend. Before something happens to bring distress into your life, end your romantic evenings with this guy. If you do, do you think he will continue to date you? Find out!

DR. WALLACE: You told a girl to dump her boyfriend who was hooked on drugs. That was a lousy thing to say. The only way this guy is going to give up his habit is through his friends and family, with his girlfriend being the most important influence. If the girl took your advice, this poor guy might just continue to throw his life away.

I was addicted to cocaine but overcame my addiction with the help and love of my family and friends. In my situation, my boyfriend’s love did the trick. Today, I am a registered nurse, married and the mother of two lovely children. — Been There, via email

BEEN THERE: It will be a rare day when I encourage a young lady to continue a relationship with a guy who is addicted to drugs. His family and friends should give the support that he needs, and if a girl wants to be compassionate under those circumstances, I suggest she give support as an ex-girlfriend.

DR. WALLACE: This is in response to the boy who is 18 and has never been on a date. I’m a girl in my late teens, and I, too, have never been on a date. I used to be very reserved, and I never really wanted to go out with anyone. Now, however, it really bothers me. I don’t know what could change, but I would really like to try going out with someone special. However, I’m always afraid that no one will ask me out. I will admit I am not the most attractive girl in the world, but I have my good features, and I figure I am about in the middle of the pack when it comes to looks. I would like to date someone who I know has a lot of respect for me as a person, not just someone looking for a girl with model looks.

I do have a lot of single male friends. But, again, I’m not sure they would ask me out one on one. What can I do besides be myself? — Anonymous, Ventura, California

ANONYMOUS: The time has come for you to take advantage of the fact that many guys share your friendship!

Invite your male friends, one by one, to go out with you (even for a casual cup of coffee). And since you are already friends, it could easily lead to another meeting — a movie or a sports event. Be yourself, and I promise that you will be enjoying a closer relationship with one of them when the timing is right. It is likely that you will not have to ask too many before you receive a yes.

DR. WALLACE: One of my good friends just broke up with her boyfriend. Last night, he called me and said that he would like to go out with me. I was flattered that he asked me out because he is very cute and popular and, secretly, I’ve always wanted to go out with him. What should I do? Of course, my friend is not aware that her ex called me! For the moment, it’s a secret. — Flattered Friend, Santa Fe, New Mexico

FLATTERED FRIEND: In most cases, you are risking losing a friend if you date the guy your friend recently broke up with. Talk with her, and explain that her ex has called, and he asked you out. Then ask her opinion. If she asked you not to go out with him, then you will surely lose her friendship if you do. From there, it’s your call; do you want to trade your close friendship with your girlfriend for one date with this boy? Yes, you might continue a relationship, but, then again, it could also be a one-time date.

If she says she doesn’t care, or even encourages you to go out with him, you probably will not lose her friendship if you go on the date. The next move is now up to you.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at rwallace@thegreatestgift.com. To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

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