DEAR ABBY: I am turning 40 and have never been married. Lately, on dates, men have started asking me why I've never married. It makes me uncomfortable, and I don't know how to answer them.
I have always been attracted to emotionally abusive men and have always been the one to break things off. I was abused as a child and was also a victim of sexual trauma. I'm not sure if this is why abusive men keep showing up in my life.
I'd like to meet someone who is kind and stable. Is it too late, and how do I answer the question as to why I've never been married?
- Forever Single In Chicago
DEAR FOREVER SINGLE: Because someone asks a question does not compel you to do a psychological striptease. A way to answer without baring your soul would be to say that you haven't met the right man yet. (If you are attracted to abusive men, that's the truth.)
People are usually attracted to the familiar. Because of your background, you may not pick up on warning signs that might alert others that there is trouble ahead. This does not mean it's too late for you to find a caring, supportive life partner - however, you might have an easier time of accomplishing it if you schedule some sessions with a licensed mental health professional. Old habits are hard to break, but it can be done.
DEAR ABBY: When my husband passed away four years ago, I donated his corneas to a local organization. I was told the donor family could write a letter to the recipients, who remain anonymous, telling them a little something about the donor but without divulging any personal data. I finally felt up to doing it a couple of years after the funeral.
I sent the letters to the organization, which forwarded them to the recipients. I was told not to expect a reply. I learned that two women in California had each received one of my husband's corneas.
I have not heard from either of these ladies, which I really don't understand. I don't want a pat on the back, but I'd love to know how the corneas changed their lives. It would help me know that my husband's death was not in vain.
- Widow In Washington State
DEAR WIDOW: Your husband's death was not in vain. You did a wonderful thing in offering his corneas so that others might see. Not every surviving relative is as brave as you were to do that.
Frankly, it's hard to guess why you haven't heard from the recipients. I can't imagine that they aren't extremely grateful for what you did. However, many people have great difficulty expressing their feelings on paper. The lucky individuals who were given those corneas may be among them.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.