Columns | Relationships

Getting Deep #13: Fighting Parents, Delusional Boyfriend, Saving The World

Q&A with Dr. Dorothy: Your tough questions answered

dorothy ratusny
Dorothy Ratusny is a Certified Psychotherapist specializing in Cognitive Therapy.

My boyfriend thinks that we’re going to be together forever, but I know we won’t be. So whenever he says it, I agree with him because I don’t want to hurt his feelings. How can I tell him how I really feel without upsetting him?


While you can’t prevent your boyfriend from feeling hurt or upset, what you can do is be honest with him. If the roles were reversed, I hope that you would want to know the truth about how he feels. Crystal ball aside, if you know that you and your boyfriend aren’t going to end up together someday, it’s important to say so. Your relationship (or the way you both view it) may certainly change once you explain how you feel, but in the end, the two of you should talk openly and honestly about where your relationship is going.

I see all these horrible things happening in the world, and I don’t want to sit here doing nothing about it. I want to help people overseas who are currently at a disadvantage, but I don’t know where to go. Is there anything a person my age can do to help?

There is much that each of us can do. I think it’s great that you feel the need to help those who live their lives under very different conditions. Having a cause that tugs at your heartstrings will certainly make your decision about how to help that much easier. Below are some ideas of how you can help on a global scale:
is a global online community, providing youth with inspiration to make a difference, a source of information on issues, opportunities to take action, and a bridge to get involved locally, nationally and globally.

Earthbeat is an organization for young people interested in global justice issues.

Environment Canada offers programs for Youth and the Environment.

Canada World Youth designs and delivers international educational programs for youth (aged 17-29) with a focus on volunteer work and community development in a cross-cultural setting.

Hope in Africa

My parents are constantly fighting, and I can’t concentrate on my homework. They are also really overprotective and won’t let me leave the house to study at the library or at a friend’s house. They also don’t like me travelling by myself. This is driving me nuts. What should I do?

Explain your needs to your parents. Hopefully they can put their disagreements aside long enough to give you some quiet time in which to study. The bigger issue, however, might be their overprotectiveness. Do your best to negotiate opportunities to get out more, reassuring your parents by checking in with them and respecting agreed-upon curfews. Being allowed to have some (even small) freedoms is a success that you can build upon, enabling you to become even more independent.

My parents are pressuring me to choose a career before I graduate high school. They say I need direction. I am an honour roll student, but I think I need more time to figure all this out. How can I get them to see my point of view?

You may not actually get them to understand your need for more time, but can they really force you to decide on a career before you are ready? The choice (thankfully) is still yours although you may want to reassure them that you are working on it!

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