Looking for Love
Dear Annie: What started out as a friendly gesture to help a neighbor's family and pets during an emergency has somehow turned into our obligation to be their "service people" in noncritical situations. Now there are frequent requests to pet-sit or dog walk, even coupled with checking in on their fully functioning live-in relative while they are out of town or on vacation. My husband and I retired for time together and our own family -- age ranges from 4-90 years old -- and since the pandemic has somewhat eased, there is an opportunity to enjoy small gatherings. Therefore, we are not always available OR on standby for their next event. Despite the word "no," the calls keep coming. Any ideas? -- Being Taken Advantage Of
Dear Taken Advantage Of: Actions speak louder than words. So if your words "no" are not working and the calls keep coming, then simply stop marching your feet over to their house. You have the choice whether or not to do what they are asking of you.
Dear Annie: I'm a 45-year-old loser. I've never been married, have no kids and have never been in a relationship. I'm extremely shy and socially awkward. I am lonely and have tried multiple dating sites with no luck.
I've been told I'm handsome, but looks obviously only go so far. I am struggling here and at times think about ending my life due to the crushing loneliness.
I have tried social groups, but I just cannot make connections with anyone.
What can I do at my age to finally meet a woman who won't judge me for my lack of dating and relationship experience and my shyness? -- Ready to Give Up on Life
Dear Ready to Give Up: What you certainly don't do is give up. The fact that you are writing to me shows that you want a relationship. Some tips for improving social skills are to focus on the other person and not worry about what is going on with you. There are online improv classes that you can take to help with communication skills.
You owe it to yourself to talk to a professional counselor about how to break out of your shell.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.