I am in the seventh grade and I broke my arm during gym class and now I need someone to carry my books for me to and from class. Usually my best friend “Kara” does it for me, but sometimes Kara and I are going in different directions so that is when I need someone else to do it for me. A boy in my class, “Derek” has been carrying my stuff for me when I go to math and science, because Kara and I are in different classes then and Derek is in both my math and science class.
My boyfriend “Carl” found out that Derek was carrying my books for me and got really mad. He yelled at me and told me that he doesn’t want Derek or any other boy carrying my books for me and that I should ask someone else to do it. I don’t want to be mean to Derek because he has been so nice to me and I think telling Derek that my boyfriend doesn’t want him carrying my books would be mean so I told Carl that he could tell Derek himself because I wasn't.
Carl caught up with Derek at lunch today and told him he would beat him up if he heard that Derek was still carrying my books, and Derek told him to go ahead and try. Derek knows Tae Kwan Do which I think is something like karate and Carl told him that Derek would like that, wouldn’t he, to beat up on a guy with his karate moves. Derek called Carl stupid and told him that Tae Kwan Do isn’t karate and that he wouldn’t waste his moves fighting a loser like Carl when he could just beat him up regular. That was when a teacher came over and broke things up, but Derek promised to meet Carl “anytime, anywhere”.
Now Carl is really mad at Derek because he made him look like a chicken who is afraid to fight and he keeps yelling at me that it is my fault that Derek made him look stupid in front of everybody. If I hadn’t let another boy carry my books he would never had to stand up to Derek like that. I don’t think it was my fault at all and I don’t like the way Carl is talking to me and blaming me for the way Derek embarrassed him.
My best friend Kara says that she thinks Derek likes me and that is why he carries my books for me and why he stood up to Carl, to try and impress me. Now that I know this and now that Carl is acting like a big jerk I want to break up with Carl and date Derek, but only if I know for sure that Derek likes me. Carl and I have been dating for three weeks now and that is a long time to invest in a relationship. I don’t want to throw it all away for something that might not last and end up with no boyfriend at all. My friends all say I should definitely date Derek, but I am not sure I like Derek that way. I think I just like the way he stood up to Carl and the way he carries my books for me. He makes me feel special. Is that what love is?Looking For Love
Dear Looking For Love:
My, what a complicated situation you have! Seventh grade can be tough, no doubt about it! From what you tell me, it does sound like Derek likes you and yes, when someone likes you they try to make you feel special. It sounds to me like Carl does not try to make you feel special but instead tries to control you. This is not a good thing. I realize that in the world of a twelve year old girl three weeks is a lot of time to invest in a relationship, and I know that being without boyfriend can seem like a fate worse than death, so you need to ask yourself: can you see yourself spending another three weeks with Carl, especially if staying with Carl means having to do what he says? You are too young to be committing yourself to a boy who will dictate your every move and decision. Wait; let me re-phrase that: nobody should commit his or her self to someone who is going to dictate their every move! You are a partner, not a pet!
Whether you break up with Carl or not should have nothing to do with how you feel about Derek and everything to do with how you feel about being with Carl. If you do not want to continue your relationship with Carl then you should break up with him, even if it means being alone. Sometimes, when we are looking for love, we take a wrong turn or two and end up in a dead-end. When that happens, you need to turn yourself around and find your way back onto the path that will move you forward. Maybe Derek is on that path and maybe he is not, but is certainly seems to me that Carl is a dead end!
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