Dear Annie: I was overweight throughout most of my childhood and became morbidly obese after high school. When I was in college, I had terrible self-esteem and a horrible body image. I never dated.
Three years ago, I had gastric bypass and have since lost more than 200 pounds. I’ve been trying to start dating, but the individuals I have approached are either seeing someone else or are not interested. I tried online dating sites, but the men who responded all live far away, some in other countries, and I’m leery of proceeding. I am not sure about the bar scene and am unaware of any singles groups in my area.
So, I guess I would like some advice on how and where to start relationships.
— Breaking Out of My Shell
Dear Breaking: There are better online dating sites that will match you up with men in your area (or at least in the same country). Try again. You also should ask your friends and relatives to introduce you to available men they know. Local churches and synagogues often have singles groups, and you should be able to attend some functions without having to be a member. Most importantly, project a confident, positive exterior. Smile. Guys like women who are fun to talk to. And while you are searching for a date, participate in activities that interest you. This will have the added benefit of making you more interesting to be around. Good luck.
Dear Annie: I have a beautiful granddaughter who is getting married in June. However, I am not invited to the wedding. I’ve been told they are keeping it really small because of the size of the facility. But I found out there will be about 20 guests. I’m invited to the reception, and I’ve already been told what gift my granddaughter wants as a wedding present. It’s quite pricey.
I thought I had a good relationship with my grandkids. But sometimes it seems I’m only needed when they want expensive things. Should I keep quiet about this hurt? I’m not sure I can go to the reception, and that may cause a larger distance between us.
— Upset Grandmother
Dear Upset: Of course, we would hope the bride would want her grandmother to be at the wedding, but let’s not jump to conclusions. A ceremony with 20 guests is exceedingly small and also includes members of the groom’s immediate family, of whom there may be many. If you can possibly attend the reception, it would be lovely. Either way, you are under no obligation to purchase an expensive wedding present simply because your granddaughter asked for one.
Dear Annie: It was amazing and heartwarming to read stories of grandparents being reunited with their grandchildren after so many years of estrangement.
What bothers me about these letters, however, is that they are one-sided. Fifteen years ago, I parted ways with my family when I hung up on my father. I didn’t find the humor in his jokes about the lifelong physical and mental abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother.
Since then, my parents have not contacted me, and I have not contacted them. Meanwhile, I have received letters and cards from family members telling me to change my evil ways and let my parents into my life. I have run into people who lecture me about my rude behavior. I know about the commandment to honor my mother and father, but honestly, I am much happier not having my parents or their abuse in my life. This is not the way I would have chosen to live, and it saddens me that I am made to be the villain in a situation where it takes two to tango.
— Family-Free from Wisconsin
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.