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Vicki: High Schooler Should Get Over Service Member Boyfriend

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My daughter met her first boyfriend in February 2014, when she was a freshman and he was a junior in high school. They fell for each other instantly and have been a couple, on and off, ever since -- until he left for boot camp in November of last year.

His mother and I met in the PTA and also became friends.

For a while, he wrote letters to her and then he just stopped. She didn't see him but one quick time when he was home for 10 days between graduation from boot camp and starting infantry school.

She went to see him once in infantry school and her feelings hadn't changed. We have been good friends with his family for a couple of years, but he asked that his family quit hanging out with us. He said our friendship makes the situation hard for him.

He has now gone to security forces school within driving distance of where we live, and he continues to contact my daughter. She is a junior in high school now. She is 17, and he is 18.

He told her today that he wants to be with her someday, but she has college and he is just starting his career. He said they should just be friends now. She is devastated that "he doesn't love her enough to want to be with her."

I have watched her have her heart broken, and her feelings for him haven't changed at all. They are just kids. What do I do? She is my only one, and it drives me crazy watching her hurt. I am afraid she will never move on.

Help! Am I worrying too much?

-- Worried Mother

Dear Mother,

I don't think you are worrying too much! So many negative things could happen in this case. From your report, it sounds like this young man has already moved on, and he is trying to tell your daughter that in a nice way. She needs to understand exactly what he is telling her.

Your daughter is still madly in love with a young man who has moved on and -- in his defense -- that's what he should do.

While I won't say that high school loves can't last forever, many of them end in devastation. So much is at stake when the two people are teenagers.

When you are 17 and 18 years old, you want to be an adult. Your daily intention is to remind your parents that you are an adult or will soon be one, in your daughter's case. In my counseling with late teens and young adults, I've learned that they often see adulthood through a uni-lens, or through just one view.

That view is that they'll have a car, a girlfriend or a boyfriend, and an apartment that they will get to lay up in and do grown-folk activity. But, when things go sour and the party stops, the "grown" children start calling their parents and crying about how life isn't fair. Who is to pay for mistakes and consequences? Many times, it's the parents.

All you can do is talk to your daughter and try to give her some guidance and wisdom. Who cares that she loves this guy? He is not that special. He needs to move on with his life and discover who he is, and she should do the same. She should go to college and learn how to become self-sufficient instead of wanting to follow behind him right now.

One last thought: I get many letters each week from young women who are 18 and older and who left everything to follow a young soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.

They believed they couldn't live without that guy and now they are regretting it. Worse, many are having to return home to their parents with one, two or three babies who their parents will have to help them raise.

Tell your daughter that I said she needs to let this young man move on without her. Tell her to graduate from high school and then go to college. She deserves it.

Thank you for writing to me. Please stay in touch and let me know how you and your daughter are doing.

-- Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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