DEAR ABBY: Lonely woman wonders why she must initiate contact with others

Thursday, July 22, 2021

DEAR ABBY: I’m educated, attractive, financially stable, easygoing, open-minded and still single at 61. I was engaged twice but never made it to the altar, and there are no children in the picture. When I reach out to people, they are delighted to hear from me, but I’m always the one who must initiate the contact. I am now the sole (almost 24/7) caregiver for my mother. We have a beautiful home and yard, but I am lonely.

I volunteered for years, but that stopped with the pandemic. Mom says I’m too smart and I don’t NEED anyone. That may be true, but I WANT someone. People don’t like me, and I don’t know why. Any suggestions would truly be appreciated. — LONELY FOR TOO LONG

DEAR LONELY: People may not reach out not because they don’t like you, but because you have set a pattern and they are used to it. They may also be busy and concentrating on their families.

The pandemic and quarantine upended the majority of peoples’ lives, and your nearly 24/7 schedule caring for your mother hasn’t helped. Although I hesitate to contradict your mother, no one is “too smart.” Women who “need” someone too often settle for “anyone” and are no happier than you are. Be grateful you’re not in a situation like that.

For insight about why people aren’t more proactive in reaching out to you, start asking your friends — in a non-confrontational way, of course. And get back to volunteering as soon as you’re able. You might also want to consider online dating, which has been successful for countless individuals.

DEAR ABBY: I need your advice on a certain topic. I’m in my early 30s, and my husband is in his early 20s. We’re currently living with my mother-in-law, who has put a damper on my and my husband’s relationship. She tells my husband what to do, tries to make decisions for him and doesn’t give him a choice about anything.

My husband and I have been talking about moving when the time is right, but she continues to put her 2 cents in. I have been treated like crap by his mother after doing everything possible to help her. I don’t know what to do at this point. I’m slowly pulling away from the man I love, and he doesn’t seem to care. What should I do? — STUCK IN OHIO

DEAR STUCK: Your husband is barely out of his teens. It may have been an oversight, but you omitted the most important fact from your letter. WHY ARE YOU TWO LIVING WITH HIS MOTHER? She treats him like a child because that’s the way she has always treated him. If you want to save your marriage, move heaven and earth to get the two of you out of there so he can grow up to be independent.

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have a beautiful 8-year-old daughter. She was a donor egg baby, as we had had three miscarriages and were unable to bring a baby to term. My question is, when is the right time to tell our daughter that her mother is not her birth mother? I was bullied extensively as a kid, and don’t want this to become a topic to haunt the rest of her school days. — DOTING DAD

DEAR DAD: I’m sorry you were bullied as a child, and I’m glad you asked this question. If your wife carried your daughter to term, she IS the child’s birthmother. She just needed a little “extra help” in the form of a donated egg.

Having reached the age of 8, your daughter is at an age when school curriculum may begin covering reproduction. After she has learned the basics, consider slowly starting to educate her about the various pathways to parenthood. Then, when she is a little older, provide more details about the miracle of her birth. It is important that your child know she can always get honest answers from both of her parents, and at some point, the donor’s medical history may be something she needs to know about.

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