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 don't want a man to consume my life - just be a part of it. It seems like the men I date want to smother me. My friends tell me that most women enjoy this. I hate it.
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.
I have met some men who would have been wonderful catches, but I felt nothing. I know friendship is the basis of all relationships, but physical attraction is important to me. A relationship won't work if I can't bring myself to be intimate with the person.
In all my years of dating, I have been in love only twice.
- Lost in Washington State
DEAR LOST: 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.
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? While I do have back issues, I speak of them only to my doctor.
I try to be patient, but some folks seem to need someone to vent to. I don't want to be the one they "tell all" to. I try to tune it out, but I wish there was an easy way to let them know enough is enough.
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.