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by Abigail Van Buren

Single Woman Is Perplexed by Sympathy From Others

DEAR ABBY: I am a divorcee and happy with my life. I'm healthy, have a great job, wonderful grown children, many good friends and several hobbies I enjoy. I'm busy and every day is full.

My issue is the way some people treat the fact that I'm "solo." When they see me, they ask whether I have a man in my life yet, and when I say I don't, they look downcast and offer me their sympathy.

Please tell your readers that for a woman to be solo isn't a tragedy. Certainly, I hope one day to meet someone wonderful to share my life with, but until then I'm happy to be on my own. I'm doing great and I don't like people treating me as if my being single is some sort of failure. -- PARTY OF ONE IN WISCONSIN

DEAR PARTY OF ONE: If I had to wager, I would bet the people you've described are older. For people in their generation there was social and economic pressure to couple up and be married. With more women completing their education and earning enough to live well on their own, there is less of that pressure today.

I'm passing your message along, but try to remember that the folks you're encountering mean well -- even if their way of expressing it is outdated and clumsy.