Q: I am 32 years old and divorced my wife two years ago. Although I tried dating for a bit, it was a brave new world of online apps and profiles. It wasn’t for me, and I became discouraged.
A year has gone by and female friends are telling me I need to get back out and date. I find the whole endeavor depressing and prefer to spend my time elsewhere and single. They say my decision to stay single is emotionally driven and I “deserve love.”
My argument against dating is that I wasn’t a good husband and I have no interest in devoting the time or energy to date in the scary and confusing world of the web. Can you settle this dispute so that we can stop the back-and-forth arguments? — Divorced and Dateless
A: I agree that opening yourself up to strangers can be scary. If you are not interested in meeting women on the internet, I won’t force you, even though that’s how many, although not all, relationships start these days.
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Because that’s not your cup of tea, there are other ways to meet nice women, among them getting out and participating in activities you enjoy or volunteering for a cause you believe in. Of course, that necessitates being open to having a relationship with someone and believing you deserve one. From the tone of your letter, I’m not sure you’re there yet. Not having been a good husband the first time is no excuse if you have learned from your mistakes.
Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years. He is in grad school. I failed out of community college. My lack of education stresses me out emotionally. I love him very much, and I see a future with him. But the idea of an architect and a community college dropout makes my heart ache. He deserves someone more on his intellectual level. He is originally from another state and this is one of the reasons why I haven’t met his family.
I have thought about trying to get a degree to become a certified nursing assistant, but again there would be a gap in our professional levels. I’m afraid that when he does introduce me to his family they will convince him he’s better off without me. Part of me believes it’s true.
Please give me advice about what to do. I don’t want to lose him, but at the same time, I want him to be happy. — Unequal in Wisconsin
A: I can’t help but wonder if you have ever spoken with someone who does career counseling. Some universities and community colleges have extension divisions that offer it. Part of the counseling involves aptitude testing, which could help you determine what you would be good at.
Being a nursing assistant is a respectable career that involves responsibility and people skills. If you feel drawn to it, then that’s what you should pursue, and you should not feel embarrassed or have a need to apologize for it.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.