DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: These past 12 months have seen significant changes in my life that have left me very disillusioned with family. I was raised to think that family should be supportive of one another, and not just be seen as a convenience. In the course of my 20-year marriage to a fellow with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, my husband and I have tried hard to be there for them. We have helped them through many crises. While one child appreciates and reciprocates, the eldest is very self-centred and her children have followed suit. It breaks my heart to see how little effort they make to their father (or me, although I don't expect much as I am not a blood relative) to feel loved and cherished. Birthdays are the one time where they could make their dad feel special but they don't. A quick phone call was all he got... no invitation for lunch or a family dinner. Their house is a shrine of pictures of their in-laws but none of the deceased mother or of dad and brother; forget my picture altogether. I must confess though, I have had some excellent supports from neighbours and school chums. -- Hurt and Disillusioned
Dear Hurt: Congratulations on arriving at the State of Totally Disillusioned and be glad you finally made it. You've started accepting the empty spots and filling them with fun and good times and caring with other people who want that with you. Neighbours and school chums can be chosen family. Adopt them and let the family who's distant be distant to the point where THEY notice it. You certainly can't make things better for your husband. Either he goes to his children and tries to build bridges or he gives up and starts enjoying the parties and dinners and barbecues that you should now start increasing with the people who really care.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm in a situation with my soon-to-be ex-wife. We talk still, but that's it. She now lives on the West Coast, and that's fine. I told her to hit the street after I found out she'd cheated on me with a guy after one week. I thought I'd give her a chance and try to trust again, but that didn't work. Even when she was working she'd come home late. I said nothing. The kids have all moved out. I got very sick and in the end she left me sick, and with no help other than my daughter, bless her heart.... My problem is, I'm 55 and now find myself alone and not knowing if I can trust another woman again. She hurt me badly. I never even looked at another woman, treated her like a queen, and spoiled her with everything. Another problem, and it's hard to say, is I have a sexual problem. I know there are other ways of pleasing a woman, but that gets boring. The doctor's said it's because of my medication. That's one of the reasons my ex left. Am I been selfish, in wanting a woman? Please help, maybe there is a club for people like me. -- Down and Out But Not Just Yet
Dear Not Yet: Your ex-wife is letting you know this is NOT a situation she can take any longer and cheating was the way to get herself kicked out. Face facts now. You're not "in a situation" with your ex-wife anymore. She's gone, even moved out-of-province to prove it. Now, you have to find a way to please a different woman who's into sex, or find a woman who is not, but still appreciates love and affection. There is every kind of specialty "personals" on the web. Look for one that suits your situation. You wrote me on computer. So, have you been keeping up on latest online research and medications yourself? Are there holistic medications that could be used as a substitute that wouldn't cripple you sexually. You would need to consult with your own medical doctor and a naturopathic doctor.
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