DEAR ABBY: I met an amazing man and have been dating him for about three months. It was almost love at first sight. I say “almost” because I was hesitant to get involved since I am his boss.
My problem is, for six years I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. My ex threw me through a wall, leaving me with broken ribs and lacerations on my face. I was constantly called “fat” — especially when I was pregnant.
Now that I’m with this new guy, I feel awkward. He tells me how pretty I am, and I don’t know how to respond. It makes me uncomfortable when he says it, and I have no idea why. I have fallen so hard for him, but feel like I hurt his feelings when I don’t respond. It’s not that I think I’m ugly or anything; I just feel like I am not as pretty as he constantly says I am.
How can I overcome this so it doesn’t become a problem in the future? I’m scared to death that one day he will wake up and realize that I’m not as perfect as he thinks I am. — NOT PERFECT IN ALABAMA
DEAR NOT PERFECT: I don’t know whether your self-esteem problem is long-standing and deep-seated, or if it stems from the abusive relationship you had with your ex. But a way to conquer it would be to discuss your feelings with a licensed mental health professional.
On a related subject, it is common knowledge that workplace romances —while not uncommon — can turn into disasters if they don’t work out. They sometimes fail because of the imbalance of power in the relationship if one person has economic control of the other. While you’re talking to your therapist, this is something that should also be discussed.
DEAR ABBY: Social media — specifically Facebook — has had an impact on families, their values and relationships. It is important to understand that, contrary to popular belief, parents and grandparents DO NOT LIVE FOREVER. Being “too busy” for face-to-face visits, writing a postcard or a letter, or even a simple telephone call, is not how we were brought up.
To my children and grandchildren, whom I dearly love: I’m sure you’ll take the time to order flowers for my funeral. You may even take the day off to attend, and when you do, you will most likely shed some tears. So why can’t you find the time, while I’m still HERE, to visit or call? I’d love to see you, and I’m never too busy to make the time. — HURT IN PELLA, IOWA
DEAR HURT: I’m printing your letter because I’m sure this is a problem shared by many aging parents and grandparents. However, this is a question you should direct to your children and grandchildren, not me. If you do, you may learn there may be multiple reasons why they don’t pay more attention to you — among them, the pressures of work, school, child care, or the fact that they are disorganized and don’t budget their time well.
There is also the question of whether you are an enjoyable person to be around. Do you show an interest in what they are doing, or make them feel guilty for not doing more to entertain you? That’s a surefire way to keep them away.
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.