Life Advice



Missing My High School Sweetheart -- 50 Years Later

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: More than 65 years ago, my mother was a military wife, a German "war bride" and an orphan from the war. This means that I had no grandparents on my mother's side of the family.

So, we always went to my father's parents' house on Christmas Day, but this led to some frustrations, so my mother put her foot down. She told her master sergeant spouse (my father) that she was no longer going to Grandmother's house (his mother) on Christmas Day.

Her other son and his family lived there. Her kids were going to enjoy their toys in their own home on Christmas Day and visit later. She was tired of her kids seeing the cousins having fun all day with their toys and having to enjoy their Christmas toys later.

It worked out fine. She knew about boundaries before it became a psychological theme! -- Setting Boundaries

Dear Setting Boundaries: Thank you for sharing the story of how your mother solved this problem for you and your siblings without offending your grandparents. She was ahead of her time in setting boundaries for grandparents.

Dear Annie: Nearly 50 years ago, while a high school student, I met an upperclassman who completely swept me off my feet. We clicked with each other almost immediately and loved being together as much as possible. He was leaving for college the following year, and his mother made no secret of the fact that she wanted him to leave without having a girlfriend back home.

I was a year younger, so my future was not yet set. We wanted to stay together even though he would be two states away. We felt that we could make it work during breaks and summer vacations. However, by late summer, his mother had convinced him that breaking it off with me was the best course of action.

To say the very least, I was heartbroken and mourned the loss for 10 years.


Eventually, I met a nice man, settled down and had a family. I was happy but always felt the loss, and now, almost 50 years later and a widow, I still feel the same as I did back then. Of course, he is a married man now, and I would never pursue him.

I feel that seeing a counselor about this would be considered trivial since there are so many in the world suffering right now. -- Still Missing My First Love

Dear Missing My First Love: You are looking back on your youth, when things were more simplistic and you had fewer responsibilities. The reality is that you feel what you feel, and your yearning is nothing to be trivialized. Perhaps you are missing your husband, and it is much easier to miss a person you knew for a short time and didn't share a life with. It certainly can be a lot less painful.

Talking to a counselor could be just what you need to help sort out what you really long for and what you want in your life today. Your feelings are NOT trivial.


"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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