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Dear Abby: I’m a single woman who has had a string of unsuccessful relationships. When a man is into me, I’m not into him and vice versa. I know the problem is mostly mine. I need a certain amount of time alone. I am attracted to manly men, but the ones who are attracted to me are either emotionally needy or they take longer to get ready to go anywhere than I do. It’s frustrating. I have met some men who would have been wonderful catches, but I felt nothing. I have been in love only twice. Any help would be appreciated.

– Lost in Washington State

Dear Lost: I wish I had a magic lamp that would give you what you’re looking for, but I don’t. What I can offer is that you need to continue looking for someone who is as independent as you are, so you can find an attractive man whose needs are similar to yours. I agree that the basis of strong relationships is friendship and compatibility.

When health issues are TMI

Dear Abby: How does one stop family and old friends from going on and on about their aches, pains, symptoms, conditions, doctor visits and medications in excruciating detail? Aside from my mother (who is 85), I don’t care to hear about this from others. It has taught me a lesson I wish people would follow: While I do have back issues, I speak of them only to my doctor. Any ideas on the best way to handle these people? Or am I stuck being a good listener forever?

– Nobody’s Therapist in Crofton, Md.

Dear Nobody’s Therapist: Try this: Say, “Really, I’m sorry to hear that.” Then change the subject to something you read in the newspaper, saw on television or that’s happening in your community.

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 60069.