Dear Harlan: I have this boy that I am messing with at school, but I also have a boyfriend at home. How do I tell the boy here at school that I don’t want to talk to him anymore? I’m not planning on telling my boyfriend at home. But I’m worried that my boyfriend will find out what happened. How do I get out of this mess?
— Messed Up
Dear Messed Up: None of this has anything to do with these boys. You are the manufacturer of all this drama. It’s so much easier to create this drama and distraction than to focus on what’s really bothering you. People who love themselves do not cheat on the people they are dating. They address problems when they come up and avoid creating new, unnecessary ones. Want to REALLY fix this? Don’t date anyone for the next six to nine months. Work on you. Take this time to learn how to love yourself. Figure out if you can just be with you. Surround yourself with interesting people who love themselves and don’t create drama. Create personal challenges for yourself. Push yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Join a team sport; volunteer; start practicing yoga; learn to meditate; participate in a spiritual group; volunteer; talk to a therapist; do things that feed your soul. And do it all while staying sober. Learn to love yourself. See how it feels. Then explore dating. When you have things in your life that fill you up with happiness, there isn’t a need to cheat, lie or create more drama. All of that loses its appeal. It’s boring. Take a break from dating and work on yourself. If you can’t do it, you’ll realize you have even more work to do on yourself.