Dear Dr. Wallace:

My boyfriend and I are truly in love and we both know that we will become husband and wife someday. Both of us feel we are ready for a sexual relationship. My boyfriend is 100 percent for it and I’m about 75 percent. I know that you will tell me to listen to the 25 percent of me who has doubt that a sexual relationship should soon begin.

— Nameless,

Springfield, MA.

Dear Nameless: Please read the following email from a young lady who has her first sexual encounter with a guy she thought would be her husband and the problems that came later.

Dr. Wallace: It is really difficult for me to write this letter, but it is something I must do, perhaps to forgive myself a little bit. It seemed like it happened in another lifetime, but the sad truth is that I had an abortion one year ago today. I was then 18 and had been dating my boyfriend for over a year. We weren’t sexually active, but one night we got carried away and we both had our first sexual experience. We thought eventually that we would be husband and wife. I was wrong. He split and I never heard from him again.

Two months later my doctor told me that I was pregnant and I have never felt so alone and frightened in my life. I didn’t know what to do. I loved children, but I wasn’t ready to be a mother. I am not close to my parents and I was afraid to tell them I was pregnant, so I decided it would be best for me to have an abortion. I still have a hard time concentrating. All I can think of is my unborn baby. Three months after the abortion, I seriously contemplated taking my life.

Somehow I overcame my severe bouts of depression, but I still can’t look at the picture of a baby without wondering what mine would have looked like.

This letter is not about abortion — it’s about premarital sex. I feel obligated to warn teens that there is much more to sex than a moment of pleasure. I now know that I was not in a position to handle the responsibilities of the “day after,” the guilt, the emotional pain, the feeling of a lost virginity, and eventually an unexpected pregnancy. Of course, I should have been on the pill. Of course, he should have used a condom, but I’m proof that it doesn’t work out that way. When we went out that evening on a date, we did not plan to have sex. We never did before. It just happened.

Teens, please don’t get involved in sex until you and your partner are willing to accept all of the responsibilities that go along with it. That time is when the couple is husband and wife. I made a very wrong decision and it will haunt me the rest of my life. — Nameless, Newark, N.J.

NAMELESS: Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure it will serve as a warning to many teens. I hope writing about what happened also helps you put it behind you. It sounds as though you went through the ordeal all alone, which would increase the difficulty immeasurably. My heartfelt hope is that you find peace of mind.

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