DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a rising senior in high school dating a rising freshman in college. We just passed our eight-month anniversary. I’m aware that I’m just in high school and may not know everything, but I know I love her. I’ve heard a lot of talk. Some people say high school relationships should always break up for college to save us from the inevitable mental turmoil. Others say it’s possible that it can work if we try hard enough. Where do you stand on the issue? — Need a Third Opinion
DEAR NEED A THIRD OPINION: This is a tricky situation that doesn’t have one answer. Personally, I remember that my high school boyfriend broke up with me at the end of high school. He said it was because we were going to different schools, so our relationship naturally had to end. I was devastated. That should not be a given, at least not in my book. I recommend that the two of you have a heart-to-heart. Talk about your relationship and your future. If you both want to give it a chance, do that. Sure, it could be hard to manage, but you won’t know unless you try. If you choose to give your relationship a chance, establish markers that indicate when you need to rethink your status, such as if either of you meets someone else, the frequency of your communication wanes, etc.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My roommate recently suffered the loss of her mother. I, on the other hand, have never lost a close family member. She is sad — and reasonably so. She often mopes around the apartment with a certain empty look in her eyes. She took time off from work, which I think was the right decision. I’m just not sure what I should be doing in this situation. I don’t know if she wants to talk through her mother’s death or just pretend like it never happened. I’m not even sure which one would be the healthy decision. How do I help her through such a difficult time? — Dealing With Grief
DEAR DEALING WITH GRIEF: Losing a parent can be devastating for a long time and, for some, can seem to be an inconsolable loss. As her roommate, you see her grief more plainly than anyone. What you can do is gently and continually let her know that you are there for her. Ask her if she needs anything, including the need to talk. Offer to be a good listener in case she wants to unload at any point. Do not offer estimates on when she will feel better because you do not know. Do your best to live your life as before, following your same habits. You can also ask her if she needs you to do anything differently for now to support her during this time.
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