DEAR ABBY: I am a 30-year-old, attractive, recently divorced attorney and single mother. My problem is I become extremely threatened when I'm romantically rejected, and I need to know how to gain a healthier approach to rejection.
I have dated occasionally, but nothing has developed into anything serious because I have yet to find someone with whom I feel completely compatible. However, when I start dating someone and he doesn't feel the same, it negatively affects my self-esteem. I feel and act depressed, and then I begin feeling insecure, anxious and irrational.
I recently drove someone away because when he didn't call me one night, I went wild with anger and anxiety. I realize this heightened response is not normal. It is also quite painful. Frankly, the intensity of my feelings frightened me, and I'm at a loss about how to handle it.
How can I get over feeling so insecure in relationships so rejection won't damage and disrupt my sense of self? -- DISCOMBOBULATED IN BROOKLYN
DEAR DISCOMBOBULATED: May I remind you that the process of dating is like sifting for gold for everyone involved. It can take a lot of effort and sifting before you finally strike the mother lode. When it comes to dating, I know of few things that are more of a turn-off than a woman -- or a man -- who has the word "needy" stamped on her (or his) forehead.
If you felt good about yourself, you would not be so dependent upon these men for validation. Your intense, angry and anxious reactions when a man doesn't call may be related to your divorce -- or they may stem from earlier insecurities you brought into your marriage. Unless you develop confidence about your self-worth, your relationships with men won't change.
Please give this some thought -- and if you agree that I'm on the right track, consider consulting a psychologist who can help you develop some tools for emotional independence. Once you have achieved it, your odds of meeting "Mr. Right" will be much better.
DEAR ABBY: What is the proper way to defer right-of-way to an ambulance or other emergency vehicle? I drive on a two-lane highway to and from work every day, and have had a couple of close calls recently with drivers in front of me slamming on their brakes and stopping in the roadway while waiting for an emergency vehicle to go by.
I was always taught that if an emergency vehicle is behind you, to pull as far to the right side of the road as possible and allow the vehicle to pass on your left. But what do you do when it's going in the other direction? Surely stopping in the road is not the answer. Please set me and my fellow commuters straight. In the meantime, I'll be ... SLAMMING ON THE BRAKES IN ALABAMA
DEAR SLAMMING: I, too, was taught that when an emergency vehicle with a flashing light and a siren approaches from either direction that all drivers should move as far to the right as possible. This will allow the emergency vehicle access to the middle of the road, if necessary. Simply slamming on one's brakes is not enough. It can cause gridlock and bring the emergency vehicle to a stop, resulting in loss of property or even someone's life.
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