DEAR ABBY: After working 15 years for the same company, I was let go last August. I have called my former co-workers/friends just to stay in touch. I don't dwell on what I'm going through; I just want to enjoy some companionship.
I have asked if they would like to meet for coffee before or after work. Only two ever seem to want to get together. It hurts, because we always shared birthdays, happy hour outings, etc. My phone rarely rings, and I am now seeing a doctor for depression.
Abby, please let your readers know that those of us who have lost their jobs are still trying to maintain relationships. It's hard enough not having a job, but it's harder realizing friends have turned their backs on you. -- FORGOTTEN IN KATY, TEXAS
DEAR FORGOTTEN: I know you're going through a difficult time, and glad that you talked to your physician about your depression. Take from this experience some valuable insight: The people who get together with you are your true friends. Those who no longer want contact may fear that unemployment is a communicable disease and were only acquaintances. And now you know who's who.
DEAR ABBY: My husband is insecure. I do what I can to make him feel loved, but he has a habit that drives me crazy. Many times over the course of a day he'll say, "I love you." He does this especially if there is any hint of disagreement.
At first I thought it was sweet, but after many years of marriage, I now understand that he just uses the words to get me to say it back to reassure him. Sometimes I do, but if I don't, he becomes increasingly distressed.
Should I just give him what he wants? It makes me feel like a puppet. -- TOO MUCH "LOVE"
DEAR TOO MUCH: Instead of "giving him what he wants," have you tried calmly calling him on it? Try this: "John, you know I love you. You hear it many times over the course of a day. But I find it, frankly, annoying that when we disagree about something, you tell me you love me and become increasingly distressed if I don't feel like saying it back at that moment. So, let it go for now."
Your husband needs to hear you say it -- almost as much as you need to get this off your chest.
DEAR ABBY: My father-in-law has liver cancer. Whenever I use the term to explain his condition, I say, "Dad is dying of liver cancer," which upsets my in-laws because they don't like to hear the word "dying." His cancer will ultimately take his life, so am I wrong, or are my in-laws being too sensitive? -- JUST BEING HONEST IN IOWA
DEAR JUST BEING HONEST: At this point you are wrong. Unless your father-in-law is at death's door he is LIVING with cancer. When you describe his condition as "dying," you create the impression that you are rushing him to the cemetery. He could live quite a while, so don't jump the gun. And no, your in-laws are NOT being "too sensitive."
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