Dear Annie: I have been seeing a woman for about eight years now. She is married, and I am not. We started out as high school sweethearts, and then we grew up and had our own lives for about 30 years. Then we found each other again through social media, and I fell in love all over again. She keeps telling me that she is not happy with her husband anymore and that she wants to be with me. But lately, she has made me feel like she doesn’t care about me or us anymore. I am just at a loss. I wish I could just walk away, but I love her too much. The sad thing is that I have tried to tell her how I feel, and she says nothing. If she’s not in love with me anymore, I wish she would just walk away. What should I do? — Mind on the Mrs.
Dear MOTM: You’re in love with a collection of ideas, not a person: the nostalgia for how you remember your high school relationship, and the anticipation for how you imagine your future relationship. But what you have presently is not a relationship at all. If she hasn’t left her husband after eight years, she’s not leaving him. Quit waiting for her to take action, and take some action yourself. End the relationship, and open your heart up for love and fulfillment in the here and now.
Dear Annie: I am writing after reading the letter from “Invisibly Ill.” My husband was ill for more than 18 years. He kept telling his doctors that he had a pain in his face. Eventually, he was diagnosed with tic douloureux. Tic douloureux, or trigeminal neuralgia, is a severe, stabbing pain to one side of the face. It stems from one or more branches of the nerve that supplies sensation to the face, the trigeminal nerve. It is considered one of the most painful conditions.
My husband underwent surgery to try to move a blood vessel, without success. He had to stop working. It took two years to get him on disability insurance, due to the unusualness of his condition. Some family or friends didn’t believe he was sick.
Only people who have gone through something like this know what you are talking about. My husband passed away nine days before our 39th anniversary. — You Are Not Alone
Dear YANA: The pain your husband experienced from trigeminal neuralgia must have been terrible. I’m sorry that judgmental friends and family made it worse. I’m printing your letter to remind those struggling with invisible illnesses that they are not alone — and to remind the rest of us that invisible illnesses are, unfortunately, very real.
Dear Annie: I read and enjoy your column every day, and I respect your advice. Whenever I read about someone who has moved to a new town or is lonely, you give them good advice suggesting that they get out, join a club, activity, etc. However, my husband and I have moved 20 times, and the first thing we do when we move in is find a good church. Of course, not all congregations are as accepting as we are taught to be, but there is always the right one; it just takes visiting a few. In our congregation, we go out of our way to welcome newcomers and even have a special welcoming table with a small gift. I hope that you will add this to your list of suggestions. — Sandi M.
Dear Sandi: Indeed, for those who worship, church can be a wonderful way to find new friends and community. I’m glad to print your tip here.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.