Browsing the web elicits a sense of inadequacy

Dear Abby: I am a lesbian. My girlfriend and I have been together for a few months now. We fell in love quickly and are preparing to move in together. I’m really excited about this, but an “incident” happened recently while we were spending time together.

We were watching TV and I noticed she was on a website that looked at women wearing bikinis. At first I thought, “Are you serious? Right in front of me?” So I looked and asked her. She looked at me and said, “What?” It made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

I know she loves me, but she doesn’t understand how hurt I was to see this. It made me feel like I wasn’t enough. What should I tell him? Should I break up with her? Or am I wrong to feel this?

— Ripped in South Carolina

Dear Torn: Your relationship is new. Looking at pictures of people in bathing suits is hardly indicative of a porn addiction or a clue that you aren’t “enough”.

Before you move in together, you both need to talk about it, and you ABSOLUTELY need to learn how to deal with your feelings of insecurity because if you don’t, they could possibly drive out one of your love interests. Please get to know each other for a longer period of time before taking your relationship to the next level by moving in.

Dear Abby: I am 44 years old and divorced. I have no children and I live with my parents. I have not finished my university studies, but I have a job in my field of study. I’m happy in my job, I have friends and I’m just never going to date anyone again. However, I feel like a failure.

I would be embarrassed to go to a school reunion and have to tell my old classmates about my pathetic life. I have always been the ambitious one in my circle of friends. I was the one who was going to make something of myself and have an amazing career, husband and kids. My parents are disabled and it helps that I live with them. I pay rent/utilities and my own groceries.

How can I convince myself that I haven’t completely ruined my life and that my situation doesn’t mean that my life has been ruined?

— Self-aware in Arizona

Dear self-aware: Although you may not have achieved the lofty goals you set for yourself when you were younger, you are awfully hard on yourself by calling yourself a “failure.” You have a job you love, in the field you want to work in, and good friends. (To have friends, you have to be one.)

I guess the reason you just stop dating someone is because past relationships didn’t work out. If I’m right, that makes you a member of a very big club. Please try to stay open-minded because one day you may meet someone you care about and who appreciates the value in you. And taking care of disabled parents is a heavy responsibility, and must take precedence over a social life.

One way to counter these self-destructive negative feelings would be to focus each day on the things you HAVE accomplished, rather than what you perceive to be your shortcomings, instead of comparing yourself to others.

Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com.

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