DEAR ABBY: I am a woman living with a man, but "in love" with another man whom I formerly dated but broke up with because he's an alcoholic. "Spike" is a true biker -- exciting, funny and fun. Our lifestyles didn't mesh, so I made the decision we shouldn't be together. I miss him very much, and it keeps me from being totally committed in my head to the man I live with.
I believe I have commitment problems. I am a psychiatric nurse with 30 years' experience, so I've heard it all and know what I should do, but the issue remains. My boyfriend, "Cal," is a hard-working man with little education who earns very little and cannot help support me. We met when I weighed 300 pounds and had low self-esteem. Still, Cal loved me as I was.
I am a post-gastric bypass patient. I now realize that our lives are very different, and I'm having a hard time accepting that we are meant to be married. I hate the thought of not doing the "right thing" by Cal. I have been faithful. When will I grow up and be able to make the right decision, Abby? -- CONFLICTED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CONFLICTED: If you think that "doing the right thing" by someone is to marry him knowing that he isn't right for you, please let me point out that to do so would be a huge mistake. From what you have written, it is clear to me that you have involved yourself with two men who are not suitable for you -- and for the reasons you stated.
While you may be in the mental health profession, it is important that you find a mental health professional who can help you come to terms with the person you have gone through so much to become. I predict that after you do, you will begin making sounder decisions about many things, including whom you want to spend the rest of your life with.
DEAR ABBY: I have been a volunteer at a veterans hospital here in Maine for the past five years. It has been extremely rewarding. Sadly, I won't be able to continue. Because of the price of gas, I can no longer afford to drive the 100-mile round-trip.
These hospitals are losing many volunteers because of this. If I lived closer, I would continue with the work. I am asking people who live within a reasonable distance of any VA hospital to go sign up. Volunteers are needed as office workers, groundskeepers, people to help transport veterans from building to building in the hospital, and in numerous other positions. I know there are people sitting around bored, with nothing to do. Retired people can sign up, including men.
Abby, volunteers have to take only a short, one-day training class to familiarize themselves with the safety and rules of the hospital. The work is fulfilling, and you even get a free meal if you stay more than three or four hours. -- GLORIA P., FREEDOM, MAINE
DEAR GLORIA P.: As sorry as you are to leave, I'm sure the people at the VA are even sorrier to see you go. Our veterans have given so much to this country, we owe it to them to see they get the help they need. Readers, if you're interested, call your nearest VA hospital and ask for the volunteer office.
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