Life Advice



Ask Amy: Rom-com might not have happy ending

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: They say you never forget your first love.

Is reaching out to them crossing a line?

Life for me was like a “rom-com” movie; I grew up as the girl next door in a gorgeous home. I was in love with the boy next door, “Brian.”

We had a pretend wedding when we were kids and always joked about being married to each other. His mom even saved the picture from our pretend wedding.

I loved him very much. We shared our first sexual experience together.

Then, my father's once-successful business went under and our house was foreclosed. We were forced to move.

Brian wrote me a letter when I moved about how he would always be there for me and for a while, he was. We still saw each other, but on his terms. He started having commitment issues, we both met different people, he went away to college, and we've both had a few different "loves" since then.

About 10 years ago he reached out to me on social media, but it was a shorter conversation than I would have liked, as I was in a relationship. Fast-forward to today. We are both married to different (lovely) people, and he lives in a different city.

The thought of cheating on my husband makes me cringe. But Brian played in a band and I would think about going to the venue just to "run into" him again.

I think about him every day! I dream about him at least once a week. It's always exciting to dream about him, but I’m sad when I wake up.

It's like we find a way back to each other in my dreams.

This is a constant ache in my soul. Is it too late to reach out and say hello, or should I let it go?

– Dreamer

Dear Dreamer: My amateur take on your persistent dreaming is that your subconscious is trying to repair a series of losses in your earlier life. Your father’s business failure, the foreclosure and move, and “Brian’s” rejection of you during a period of instability. These are all early and painful wounds.

Your persistent thoughts and dreams are also an invitation for you to explore and examine your current relationship to your “lovely” husband.

I don’t necessarily discourage you from contacting Brian, as long as you realize that this contact could very likely lead to much more pain for you – whether from Brian’s lack of interest leading to (another) rejection, or from your obsession leading to the failure of your marriage – or both of your marriages.

Rom-coms are fantasies. The richness of real life comes from understanding and accepting past hurts and losses, owning your regrets, and integrating these into your authentic and actual lived experience. You’re not there yet.

A therapist could help you to sort this out. I highly recommend it for you.


Dear Amy: I'm a 33-year-old man. I have one child that I'm not allowed to see.

My son is three years old, and his mother does not allow me to see him because she still holds on to grudges from my past.

Now granted, I am a recovering addict, but she doesn't see the changes that I have made in my life.

I believe I can be there as the father to our child.

What can I do to show her that I have changed and have become a better human being?

– Want to be a Dad

Dear Dad: The best way to apply for parenting-time is through your local family court.

If you go through the court, you could be ordered to attend parenting classes, take drug tests, or attend therapy before you are permitted visitation. You would need to submit proof to the court that you have complied.

If you are attempting to work this out informally, you could fulfill these same recommendations and submit them to the child’s mother as proof that you deserve visitation.

Holding down a steady job, contributing financially to the child’s benefit, and working your program are all ways to demonstrate that you are ready for fatherhood.

Dear Amy: Responding to the question from “Feeling Helpless,” the grandparents who didn’t want to pay for their grandchild’s residential treatment program, I wish you had just told them to shut up and “do it!”

– Disappointed

Dear Disappointed: The grandparents had some valid questions about mental health treatment and, because they were being asked to pay for it, they seemed to want to control the process. I hope they choose to help.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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