When I was 11 years old, I met a wonderful young woman on an exchange trip to Europe.
I've recently been in contact with her after 30 years and our re-connection has been a wonderful time of catching up via email.
We admire each other and really look forward to catching up on a daily basis. There are still emotions for each other some 30 years later.
I must admit that she's been married for one year and I'm recently engaged.
I know that this has/will cause strain on both our relationships if we continue to
communicate on a daily basis.
The chance of me going to see her or her coming here are relatively good if we continue our discussions. We both have the means to travel that far.
I think that deep down we both have unexplained/unresolved emotions for each other that can't go any further without someone getting hurt.
I'm looking for any advice.
- Far, Far Away
You're really looking for a crisis and getting closer to making one happen.
Sit down with your fiancée and tell her you're not ready to get married. That's evident from your facile escape into this online relationship with someone you met when still young enough to think romance was just like fairy tales.
Your re-connection at this time was unnecessary, and your keeping it up was foolhardy.
Worse, it's destined to hurt at least two people.
Your childhood friend is equally guilty of looking for trouble. Maybe her recent marriage isn't as exciting as having someone who's engaged suddenly become her hot Internet suitor.
Do your fiancée a favour by cancelling all wedding plans. And try to find out why you're seeking flight.
I'm a 29-year-old child with post-secondary education, but I haven't yet found a satisfying job or career path.
I have no goals, no motivation.
I'm currently unemployed and not pulling my weight financially.
My spouse is getting resentful.
When I was 25, my father told me that he wanted my mother to have an abortion when she was pregnant with me, because my older brother has hemophilia and they were in and out of hospitals.
My brother has had HIV for 20 years now and also has Hep C from the tainted blood products. I feel guilty that I'm relatively healthy. And I'm hurt that the man I've loved for the longest time didn't want me.
I now have two auto-immune diseases, my body attacking itself, and I now have other medical issues.
I've talked to a psychologist and a counsellor about my brother and medication has helped lift the heaviness in my chest but I want to find meaning in my life.
I'd love to go down a creative path, and to volunteer, but there'd be no income from these.
How do I please myself and my spouse?
- Barely Existing
Your own life has as much value as your brother's, but you've gotten weighed down carrying guilt about his.
You need to feel free to follow the path that attracts you, since that's where your motivation will hopefully get its boost.
Your spouse may support your desires if he sees you gaining some interests, so discuss this openly with him.
Together, you may find there are grants for creative projects, and a part-time job might feel worthwhile if it helps you afford to follow your heart.
Meanwhile, stay on your medications, and ask your therapist to help you probe all these possibilities.
My sister, 26, had an abusive high school romance, didn't get along with her university housemates, and is now with the wrong man.
He's too submissive to her demands and harsh words.
Also, when her beloved parrot died, she felt she'd lost her best friend. She's very difficult - frequently upset and swearing at people.
I emailed her information about anger management; but when my Mom tried to discuss it with her, she lashed out.
How can we convince her to get help?
- Frustrated Family
Assure her that you're on her side, wanting her to be happy.
After she's calmed down from an outburst, hand her information about counselling from several local practitioners. (Phone first to ask about fee, availability, and experience with anger issues).
Offer to accompany her for a first visit, and wait outside.
Otherwise, it's unfortunately likely that some future tumultuous incident will force her to seek help.
Tip of the day:
A romantic escape is often the clue that your reality needs to be changed.