DEAR ABBY: I’m 44 and divorced. I have no kids and I live with my parents. I didn’t finish college but I do have a job in my field of study. I’m happy in my job, have some friends and am content to not date anyone ever again. However, I feel like I’m a failure.
I’d be embarrassed to go to a school reunion and have to tell my former classmates about my pathetic life. I was always the ambitious one in my circle of friends. I was the one who was going to make something of myself and have an amazing career, a husband and kids. My parents are disabled, and it does help that I live with them. I pay rent/utilities and for my own groceries.
How can I convince myself that I haven’t made a complete mess of my life and that my circumstances don’t mean my life has been wasted? — SELF-CONSCIOUS IN ARIZONA
DEAR SELF-CONSCIOUS: While you may not have achieved the lofty goals you set for yourself when you were younger, you are being awfully hard on yourself by calling yourself a “failure.” You have a job you love, in the field in which you want to work, and good friends. (In order to have friends, you have to be one.)
I assume the reason you are content to no longer date is past relationships didn’t work out. If I’m right, that makes you a member of a very large club. Please try to remain open-minded, because one day you may meet someone you can care about and who will appreciate the value in you. And caring for your disabled parents is a heavy responsibility, and needs to take priority over a social life.
A way to counteract these self-defeating, negative feelings would be to concentrate every day on those things you HAVE accomplished, rather than what you perceive to be your shortcomings, instead of comparing yourself to others.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a lesbian. My girlfriend and I have been together for a couple of months now. We fell in love quickly and we’re getting ready to move in together. I’m really excited about it, but an “incident” happened recently while we were spending time together.
We were watching TV, and I noticed she was on a website looking at women wearing bikinis. At first I thought, “Are you serious? Right in front of me?” So I looked over and asked her about it. She looked back at me and said, “What?” It made me feel incredibly insecure.
I know she loves me, but she doesn’t understand how hurt I was seeing that. It made me feel like I’m not enough. What should I tell her? Should I break up with her? Or am I wrong to feel this way? — TORN IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR TORN: Your relationship is new. Looking at pictures of people dressed in swimming attire is hardly indicative of a porn addiction or a hint that you are not “enough.”
Before you two move in together, you both need to talk this through, and you ABSOLUTELY need to learn to deal with your feelings of insecurity because, if you don’t, they could eventually drive away any of your love interests. Please, get to know each other for a longer period before taking your relationship to the next level by moving in.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)