Friend Won't Stop Trying to Set Me Up
Dear Annie: When I was in my early 50s, I became very ill and eventually found out I had severe rheumatoid arthritis. During that time I was in and out of hospitals. The last time I was hospitalized, my husband was too busy to come visit me. On arriving home, I discovered he had changed the locks and moved his girlfriend in. Needless to say, this was quite a shock. His defense was that he was still young and wanted to have fun and didn't want to be around a sick person. So after 20 years of marriage, we divorced.
That was 10 years ago. I'm now 64. I've been able to manage the symptoms of my illness much better. I fish, ride bikes with my granddaughter and volunteer at my church. I'm very content. My problem now is that a good friend keeps trying to convince me to let her set me up with men.
I have no interest in dating. I finally told her I think men are untrustworthy and to please just let it go. How do I convince her to let it lay? Her husband passed away last August from Lewy body dementia, and she started pestering me about dating after that. Why is she like a dog with a bone about my dating life (or lack thereof) all of a sudden? -- Let Me Be Single
Dear LMBS: For what it's worth, your ex sounds like a once-in-a-generation scumbag. I can understand why that experience would lead a person to swear off dating for life, but not all men are untrustworthy. There are some faithful fish out in the sea. That being said, it's perfectly fine to swim solo.
Your friend's fixation on setting you up isn't about you. It's probably not a coincidence that she started up with the matchmaking mania after her husband died. Perhaps she's using it as a distraction from her grief. Maybe she's lonely herself and desires companionship but is not ready to face the prospect of dating, so she's projecting it onto you. I suggest gently asking her why she keeps bringing up the subject and lovingly asking her to please drop it.
Dear Annie: I'm a cashier, and every day I see people who are gambling addicts. I would never approach strangers and lecture them, nor even bring up the subject to them. But perhaps if they can see some signs, they may be able to see themselves and recognize that they may need professional help.
One of the first signs may be when, instead of just buying an occasional ticket as they did previously, they start doing so out of boredom rather than fun, and trying to "make up" for what they already spent. Others are further along the path, and instead of taking their tickets home, they will stay for half an hour or more scratching in the store, until they run out of money. Among the worst are those who don't actually play at all, but simply scratch the barcode at the bottom and scan it immediately expecting to get the top prize. It would be great if you could publish some resources for people who are addicted to gambling. -- Concerned Citizen
Dear Concerned: I appreciate your raising this important subject. By some estimates, there are roughly 10 million Americans who struggle with this. I encourage anyone who finds themselves gambling more often than they'd like to -- or anyone concerned about another person's gambling -- to reach out to the National Council on Problem Gambling at 1-800-522-4700. (You can call or text that number.) Another resource is SMART Recovery (https://www.smartrecovery.org), which offers support in recovery from many forms of addiction, including gambling.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.