Let's Get Through It Together - Month Two

This is not my problem, but my boyfriend’s. He gambles. Even though it’s only a little gambling, I’m afraid it will become a habit. He’s promised he wouldn’t gamble anymore, but he’s still doing it. How do I let him know gambling is a bad habit without hurting his feelings?

Surabaya, Indonesia

For some people, gambling can be a super-serious problem. So try giving him vivid descriptions of what could happen if his luck runs out (and it will, I assure you). Tell him how you feel about his breaking his promise to you. In other words, give him a major GUILT TRIP! Talk it out. Hopefully, he’ll come around. If not, try expressing your fears and concerns one more time. If nothing changes, you might want to suggest that your boyfriend get some type of counseling -- gambling can be an addiction, just like alcoholism and drug abuse. Good luck.


I have a friend who runs my life! I have to ask her permission to do things. If we’re at lunch and I want to go outside, I have to ask her. If I don’t, she “hates” me for a few days. It’s really putting me under stress. Please help!

Kim M.
Gaston, SC

Your friend is acting this way because she is very insecure. I don’t know exactly how you let it get this far, but why don’t you try to talk to her as a friend? Explain how much her behavior bothers you and that it may ruin your friendship. But be forceful. If she hasn’t picked up a hint yet, it may take some strong words to drive it into her head.


I really want a second earring in my right ear. My dad said it’s all right, but my mom says it’s totally unacceptable, and now I can’t have my ear pierced. I was thinking about piercing it on my own and hiding it from my mom. What should I do?

Em J.
Fort Dodge, IA

Hide a pierced ear from your mom?? Not a good idea. Give it some time. A month or so, maybe. Or maybe try talking your agreeable father into discussing it with your mom. Your dad might hold more authority in this matter than you. If nothing works, feel glad that you have two pirced ears. I don’t even own an earring!


I’m 15 and in my first year of high school. Even though I study hard, I just don’t seem to do well. I know cheating isn’t right, but it seems like the only way I can get by. Please help me before my future is affected.

Michelle S.
New York, NY

Cheating will not benefit you in any way. Try finding a tutor who can work with you one-on-one (ask a teacher you like how to find one). I realize the last thing you want to do in your spare time is more schoolwork, but it will help, believe me. I had the same problem in chemistry (yuck!). You should also talk to your teachers about your desire to do better. They will appreciate your maturity and may suggest ways to make your studying more efficient.


I’m 14, and my parents are divorced. My older sister, who’s 16, lives with my dad. Whenever I’m with them, I feel like he puts her first. I’m starting to wonder if he even remembers he has another daughter. I want to tell him how I feel, but I’m scared he won’t pay attention to me and just go on treating me the same way.

Heidi W.
Gahanna, OH

Remember, he’s putting his priorities first -- the daughter he sees most is your sister. True, this may be wrong, but he may feel really distant from you. Or he may not even realize he’s neglecting you. Basically, you need to seriously talk to him. He won’t know how you feel unless you tell him. Maybe you could have somebody “innocently” show him this column. Check with your mom and ask to visit your dad more often.


I’m 15 and I really like this cute guy. He found out I’m a virgin, and now he teases me. What should I do?

QuinciAnne W.
Houston, TX

There is nothing wrong with being a virgin. Nothing!!! And there’s no reason why anybody 15 years old (or any age, for that matter) should feel uncomfortable about being one. No offense to guys reading this, but a lot of guys are pretty immature when it comes to sex. They make jokes about it because they don’t know what else to say. Telling this guy his teasing bothers you will probably make him want to make fun of you even more, so try ignoring him. If he pressures you to have sex and you aren’t ready, he isn’t worth pursuing. Dump him! You’ll find another guy! Texas is a big state! P.S. I’ll bet this guy is a virgin, too.


My first true love has AIDS. He is very special to me. I know soon he will die. How do I cope with this? How do I comfort him knowing we won’t be there for each other farther down in life?

Lisa F.
Adrain, GA

I know this sounds like a standard answer, but I think you should probably join an AIDS support group (look in the Yellow Pages under AIDS, or call your local hospital and ask if they have such a program). These groups help people with AIDS and their loved ones cope with their feelings. As far as comforting your friend, try asking him how he would like you to help him. Don’t act like his illness doesn’t exist. Talk about it if he wants to. Make sure to spend lots of time with him, and -- this is the hardest part -- try not to get scared and run away if he starts getting sick. And be sure to seek out people who can comfort you, too. This is one of the hardest things you’ll ever go through. Good luck.


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