DEAR SUSAN: The man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with recently broke up with me. He gave lots of excuses (he’s seven years older and feels that I am “too young and vibrant”), but I think it was mostly because he wants to get married and have kids, whereas I want to get married but am not sure about having kids. My question is, how does a person get over something like this? I feel like I can’t even function normally because I miss him so much. HEARTBROKEN

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Oh dear, you will have to work through the pain. It will hurt and you’ll cry, but in time it will ease and you’ll see clear days ahead of you. There’s no quick fix. Life brings both pain and joy, but when the pain comes, especially in this way, it can leave us crushed. Our inner selves grow from pain, however. We get to know ourselves better. It can change who we are and what we want. There is a big lesson here for you: for any relationship to work, you both have to be on the same page — you and he were not. You feared a major commitment, yet he felt you were simply rejecting him as a man. You weren’t, but you didn’t explain to him why you feel the way you do. That would mean giving him insight into your soul, but you have never let anyone get that close. So examine your wants, needs and inner fears. Try to understand why you are like you are. If you don’t like what you see, make changes. I can assure you that you are going to get past this. There’s a happy relationship in your future, but it won’t happen overnight. You’ll find a man who will be more sensitive and open — this one definitely was not.

DEAR SUSAN: My friend just met a guy, got his apartment key in the first month, met his family and is now totally swept up in his life. He’s already talking about putting her on his health plan. I’m thinking the guy might be a tad desperate. Should I be concerned? ALARMED

DEAR ALARMED: I think you are absolutely right to be concerned. I think he’s showing very little logic. It’s possible that he’s just bowled over by her — that does happen — but it’s unlikely in this case. So, stand by and be ready to support your friend. I think he will turn into a control freak and want to dictate her every move. In time, she will find the relationship claustrophobic. Right now, the sexual chemistry is blowing her mind, but time will bring her back with a bang — and then she’ll be desperate to get away from him.

Page 1 of 2DEAR SUSAN: My husband was only 44 years old when he died unexpectedly at home. After his death, I discovered that he had a mistress and problems with cocaine and that he had made illegal moves with the bank and the mortgage. (This is all true — I swear it.) I’ve had therapy and plan to continue it, but deep inside I know I’ll never be able to trust again, even though I want to. I’m a loving person by nature, but I can’t imagine getting past this. He was the love of my life. DEVASTATED

DEAR DEVASTATED: Not only did his death give you a terrible shock, but you also found out about his indiscretions. I’m not going to defend his actions, but you were the love of his life too. On the surface, his childhood may have seemed okay, but I think he suffered great emotional pain. To you, he was always strong — but inside, he wasn’t. He hated himself and tried to mask this with cocaine. I think he was too embarrassed to open up to you; he didn’t want to destroy the image you had of him and what he represented to you. You probably have so many questions. But if you look at the pain you are feeling, it might help you to understand why some people want to mask that pain with whatever they can get their hands on. He was not a bad man but a sad, lost one. He desperately wanted the world to see him as picture-perfect; alas, it was his downfall. You will never get over this, but you will learn to live with what has happened. Eventually, you will see the other side of the coin. Try to take it one day at a time. Don’t look too far into the future, and don’t make any rash or major decisions in your life until you’re ready. I’m not making excuses for him, but if you peel back the outer layers of his early years, you’ll make some surprising discoveries that will help you heal.

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