DEAR ABBY: After an on-again off-again affair with a married man for almost 10 years, our relationship finally ended today.
During the time we "messed around," I lost most of my friends because we socialized in the same circles, and I felt ashamed of what I was doing, so I stopped going around with any of them. So here I sit, lonely and embarrassed.
How do I explain to people I meet why I don't have many friends? I know time heals, and I need to focus on the good things in my life and move forward, but I feel isolated and stupid.
I never asked him to leave his wife nor did he promise he would. It was just a one-night stand that went on way too long. I did have relationships in between, but I'd always go back to him.
Can you please give me some suggestions on how to rebuild my self-esteem and learn to love myself again? -- KICKING MYSELF IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR KICKING YOURSELF: Gladly. A giant step in the right direction would be to stop kicking yourself because you appear to be plenty bruised already. Then, instead of isolating yourself, get out and get busy: Join a gym. Scout out organizations where you can volunteer.
No one will know whether you have dozens of friends or only a few -- and don't volunteer the information because it's no one's business.
Take a class or two. Join a church if you feel you need spiritual guidance. And make a vow never to involve yourself with a married man again.