Dear Abby: I'm not sure how you can help me, but I'd appreciate some input. I'm in my 50s and retired from the military.
As a young man, I was so shy I couldn't speak to girls. I joined the military early and came out of my shell, but the demands of military life made it hard for me to meet or date anyone. Most of my adult life in the service has been spent taking care of soldiers' emotional, financial and professional needs so they could do their jobs.
I can't seem to convince women to date me. They say I "have no relationship history" so I don't know how to compromise or share. I can change my wardrobe, I can lose some weight, but I can't change my "history." What on earth do I say or do to convince women (both online and offline) to take a chance with me? I just want a chance to meet a special someone. Please help me. – Frustrated in Texas
Dear Frustrated: You are the second longtime bachelor who has asked me this question in the last several weeks! I don't know what pop psychologist came up with the thesis that never-married men are to be avoided. If anything, your letter shows how dangerous it is to make blanket generalizations.
A man like you has much to offer. You are stable, have no bitter ex-wives who will interfere in a relationship, no children who are still trying to "find" themselves or tell you they hate your lady friends, and no alimony. I assume you are financially secure, and after a life in the military, have taken care of yourself physically.
Perhaps you should mention this to the next woman who tells you she doesn't want to date you because you have no "history." You should not hesitate to post your single status on your profile. Intelligent women will want to meet you, get to know you, and be willing to help you CREATE a history together. And those women who aren't willing aren't worth your time.
Dear Abby: My partner, "Kevin," and I have been together for 12 years. Although we have a close and loving relationship, one major sticking point has dogged us from early on.
I am 19 years younger than Kevin and very outgoing. I enjoy spending time with friends and socializing. I understand that when one is in a relationship, time spent with friends is reduced. However, if I become friends with someone, Kevin will find something wrong with the person, make unkind comments about them to me and make me feel guilty for wanting to be with them. It could be the person is too loud, too opinionated, has different eating habits than his, etc.
The friend's gender or sexual orientation has no bearing. I have had to forgo friendships over the years because it's just easier to do that than to argue. I love being with Kevin, but I'm not sure what I can do to resolve this challenge. He doesn't feel a need to change. What should I do? – "Dan" in Pittsburgh
Dear "Dan": Start by recognizing that what Kevin is doing may be a reflection of his insecurity. The more time you spend with someone else, the less you spend with him. He doesn't feel a need to change because his nitpicking has been successful in diverting you from these friendships.
Try this: The next time you become friendly with someone and Kevin starts putting the person down, don't take the bait. Tell him he's entitled to his opinion and if he'd like to join you, he is welcome. If not, you'll see him later. It may help you to establish some independence. Mature adults can do that and still have a healthy relationship.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.