Dear Dr. Wallace:

My favorite teacher was fired by our school district about two and half months ago, just before our school got shut down. There have been a lot of rumors floating around over why she was dismissed, but no one really seems to know for sure. The teacher who has taken her place is very strict, so this makes me miss my former teacher even more.

I know where she used to live, but when I went by her house recently, it looked totally vacant, like nobody was living there. I also tried to call her, but her telephone number was disconnected.

I would really like to tell her I miss her and wish her all the best, but I don’t know how to reach her. I called the school district and was told she didn’t leave a forwarding address. Can you help me? Should I even try to reach her or just let it go?

— Sad Student, via email

Dear Sad Student: Since you do know her former street address, send her a thank-you card to that exact address, and chances are the post office will forward it to her new address.

If appropriate (and if she receives your note!), she may contact you back sometime. Even if she does not, you will feel good about taking the time and effort to express your feelings about her, and you’ll be glad that you took the time to thank her.

This also provides a few good life lesson opportunities for you. You now realize that people will come into and out of your life, so enjoy and appreciate each and every opportunity to interact with people you respect and whose company you enjoy.

Also, you may find it cathartic to write out notes of appreciation for those people you find to be important to you in your life — and you can even do this while they are still in your everyday life.

Dear Dr. Wallace: I am a 19-year-old young lady who is head over heels in love with a very mature 14-year-old guy. And I know that he loves me, too. He is the brother of my former best girlfriend. I say “former” because she is no longer my friend since I started dating her younger brother.

It’s hard for me to understand why I’m so attracted to him, but I truly am. He is highly intelligent and very mature. In fact, I’ve never been around a guy as mature as he is. He is wonderful and treats me like a princess. His parents are not thrilled that we date, but they have not interfered with us so far. We spend much of our time listening to music, going to concerts and movies, and even having romantic dinners together.

My problem is that most of my friends think I’ve got an emotional hang up, and one by one, they’re leaving me. This bothers me very much. Not one of my friends will double date with us because they don’t approve of his young age. One of my friends even said to my face, “You’re robbing the cradle.” Whatever that means. What should I do now? I don’t want to lose him; I’ve never met a guy like him.

— The Older Lady,

via email

Dear The Older Lady: I understand that the “love bug” can bite anyone at any time, but I firmly believe that a 19-year old should not be dating younger teens, regardless of their perceived maturity. You’re an adult, and he is but a young teen.

My advice is to put an end to this situation and wait to date again until you find someone who is both compatible and age-appropriate.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

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