DEAR ABBY: When reading letters in your column concerning breast cancer, my heart goes out to every single person who has ever been diagnosed with this terrible disease. I have no respect for any man who cuts and runs when his wife is diagnosed with cancer.
But what do you think about a woman who is diagnosed and whose husband remains with her through the fear and worry, the chemo, radiation, hair loss and all the follow-up? A husband who worries constantly for her and whose biggest fear is losing his wonderful wife, and after all this — she leaves him for another man? It has been more than seven years. I’m asking for feedback in the hope that people can view this issue not just from my perspective, but also from the afflicted loved one’s perspective as well. — STILL WONDERING
DEAR STILL WONDERING: A diagnosis of a life-threatening illness can make a marriage stronger or it can destroy it. While I’m reluctant to attribute a reason for what your wife did without hearing from her, I can’t help but think that she left because the cancer made her realize how short life is and, as much as you loved her, the marriage wasn’t a fulfilling one for her. How sad for you, and I’m truly sorry. Because it’s clear you haven’t yet been able to get beyond what happened, you could benefit from discussing this with a licensed psychotherapist.
DEAR ABBY: I am considering proposing to my girlfriend, “Angela.” My problem is, I’m having doubts because I don’t know if she is “The One” — or if such a thing really exists. I don’t want to lose her because I’m searching for some mythical goddess on a pedestal. Angela is my best friend and I’d do anything for her. I don’t want to string her along, but I’m not sure if what I’m experiencing is just cold feet.
Next year I will be in medical school through the military. I think I want to move our relationship forward, but I could use some advice. Please help me make sure I don’t hurt her, either by proposing when I shouldn’t, or by leaving in search of the Holy Grail of relationships. — ANONYMOUS IN AMERICA
DEAR ANONYMOUS: Why are you are putting this pressure on yourself now? Because you are unsure, you should leave for medical school. Once you are there, you will be immersed in your studies and you will also meet others. If your feelings for Angela are as strong as they are now after six months, revisit the idea of proposing marriage. But don’t do it now if in your heart you’re looking for a woman with qualities Angela doesn’t possess, because it would be unfair to both of you.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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