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by Abigail Van Buren

Traumatic Breakup Leaves Teen Looking for a Lifeline

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 17-year-old girl who recently broke up with my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years. During the time we were together we shared many experiences, including a miscarriage. Now he wants to be alone. He doesn't want to date or have any relationship because he says he feels "love is different now."

I'm having a difficult time coping. I feel like I have been thrown away. I didn't ask for such a serious commitment, but he made me believe.

I am scared, depressed, anxious and no longer want to date because I don't want to have any casual flings. My loyalty is literally killing me. I don't know if I should change my preferences in life or learn to love me. I'm too young for this, right? -- TEEN IN NEW YORK

DEAR TEEN: No one is "old enough" to experience what you have and not come out of it without emotional bruises. Not knowing your former boyfriend, I'm reluctant to guess whether he is grieving the loss of the baby, or relieved that he isn't going to have fatherhood thrust upon him and has run for the hills. But at least for the present, accept that the relationship is over and don't blame yourself.

You could benefit from talking to a counselor about everything you have been through. I agree you are not ready to date right now and, frankly, you shouldn't until you are more healed emotionally. If you have older, experienced women in your life with whom you can talk, it's important that you do. The feelings you are experiencing are normal under the circumstances, including your loss of self-esteem. I'm glad you have the insight to realize that you need to learn to love yourself again before re-entering the dating scene.

Read more in: Teens | Love & Dating | Mental Health