DEAR ABBY: After 33 years, I recently reconnected with my first girlfriend. We are both 49. I have been married twice, and she is ending a long relationship.
We have been talking and e-mailing, and she came to visit for a few days -- no sex, just laughing and reminiscing about how we've grown since we were 16. It seems we have spent years looking for each other in different people. But now we want to be together for the rest of our lives. This may sound ridiculous, but we both know it's true. Abby, is there such a thing as true love? -- NEW JERSEY LOVER
DEAR NEW JERSEY LOVER: Yes, there is. And it appears that after years of traveling down separate paths, you and your lady have finally found it. It's not "ridiculous," and it has happened to many other couples.
DEAR ABBY: Five years ago, my daughter's mother left me. She has moved on and remarried a year ago. I haven't had a date in four years. I fell into a depression that is now affecting my relationship with my daughter. It's hard to spend time with her without feeling low.
I lost my job, my driver's license, my self-worth. I know I need to talk to a doctor, but lack of money puts me in a tough spot. As for family members, they are busy with their own problems. Please help. -- DISCOURAGED DAD IN INDIANA
DEAR DISCOURAGED: If you can't afford to see a doctor, then seek help from your county mental health agency or from a clergyperson. Many of them are trained to counsel those with personal problems -- and if you need more help than your spiritual adviser can offer, there may be someone in the congregation who can provide what you need.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have different opinions about TV watching when we have guests. I was always taught that unless guests were specifically invited to watch something on TV, it is impolite to have it on. Having the TV on in the background is a distraction to the visit. What do you think? -- TURNED OFF IN SALINAS, CALIF.
DEAR TURNED OFF: It's rude to turn a television set on in the presence of guests because it sends the message that their company is boring. If a set is on when guests arrive and the host switches it off, it conveys that the guest's company is more important than anything that's being aired. And that's an unspoken compliment that also sends a message.
DEAR READERS: It's Valentine's Day, a day guaranteed to bring joy to lovers and often a mild depression to singles who are not romantically involved. If this could be you, try this home remedy to raise your spirits:
Be a sweetheart and clean out your closets. Take any items you no longer wear (or can't fit into) and donate them so someone else can enjoy them. Call your friends and say "I love you." Bring flowers to someone in a nursing home. Offer to run an errand for someone who doesn't drive.
Donate blood; pay someone a compliment; listen to your teenager; pray for your friends; or invite a lonely acquaintance -- male or female -- to join you for lunch. Obey the traffic laws. Do something nice for someone anonymously. And, before the day is over, resolve to be a "sweetheart" more often than just today.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)