DEAR ABBY: What's wrong with me? I met "Mike" when I was 40. We dated exclusively for two years. When his mother had a stroke, Mike moved an hour away to care for her, and I made the round-trip drive seven days a week to help. I emptied bedpans, redressed bedsores, cooked, cleaned and maintained a perky attitude to cheer up an otherwise dismal household. I did all this while holding down a job 40 hours a week. I did it because she was Mike's mother, and I loved him.
Mike promised eternal fidelity and said we'd have a wonderful life together when his mother passed on. After a year of this grueling schedule, I received a short note from Mike that said, "Mom and I thank you for all you have done for us. I've decided to start dating Marianne, a cashier where I work. I've never loved anybody, although I've used the word often. Goodbye and good luck." I called, thinking I deserved an explanation, but Mike didn't return my call.
I wouldn't take him back in a million years. So why, Abby, do I still miss him, and why do I cry daily over losing him? Wouldn't any sane woman realize she'd been used and never shed a tear? -- STILL CRYING IN FAIRMONT
DEAR STILL CRYING: You cry because it's a normal reaction after having been hurt and rejected. Tears are a natural part of the cleansing and healing process. Mike used you, but he was an important part of your life and it's not surprising that you will miss him -- for a time. Face it, he was a user. One day, you'll look back and thank your lucky stars that he is out of your life.