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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Looks Back With Longing at Teenage Romance He Nixed

DEAR ABBY: This is nearly 25 years late, but I need to apologize to someone.

When I was a junior in high school, I dated "Carole." She had many fine qualities and I really enjoyed her company. After Carole and I had dated for nearly a year, I met "Marie." She was cute and exciting, and I immediately fell in love with her. Marie broke up with her boyfriend and I broke up with Carole so we could be together. (I'll never forget the day I broke up with Carole. She was at a friend's house when I told her. She stood on the porch crying as I drove away to meet Marie.)

I joined the military after graduation and married Marie later that same year. Our marriage lasted 10 months. Marie left me for another guy -- the same way she had left her boyfriend in high school for me. Carole married a great guy a few years after high school. They have been together for more than 20 years.

To Carole: I'm sorry I hurt you. I should have chosen you over Marie. Everyone saw that but me. You and I probably would have had a nice life together. I hope you're happy. If there's one thing I have learned over the years, it's that the "flashiest" people aren't always the right choices. -- TONY FROM GREENVILLE HIGH

DEAR TONY: Some people learn more from their mistakes than their successes, and you are one of them. Sometimes what is best for us is right in front of us. Recognizing what you DON'T want can be a giant step in the right direction. I hope you have put that knowledge to good use.