Q: Last year was a tough one for me: My mom was diagnosed with cancer, and my grandma passed away. I also fought with two close friends and broke up with the guy I was seeing. I’m 29, and I’ve never had a long-term relationship. I’ve dated casually, but I’ve never really had a strong connection with anyone. My dream is to have my own family one day, if fate would be so kind. Do you think I’ll ever find the right man? – Hopeful Pisces

Dear Hopeful Pisces: I’m sorry to hear about your mother and your grandmother. Your positive attitude and support will help your mom and your family through this tough time. On the love front, I think that one of your problems is that you find it difficult to trust men, which has made you cautious and suspicious. This is based on past experiences with men rather than anything that’s happening in the present. Keep that in mind the next time you start dating someone; it’s important to keep an open mind. Be aware, but don’t let your anxieties colour your expectations. I believe that you’ll meet Mr. Right in a class or small group. He will love animals and be gentle and kind. He will also listen to you and soothe your doubts and fears. He will fill that void in your life. I can see that you’re not an unhappy person; you’ve just lost your faith in love. Well, look out, because it’s going to knock you off your feet. Enjoy the ride!

Q: I’ve been going out with a guy for the past two and a half years. I love him, but when he says he loves me too, I don’t believe him. We’ve been living together for the past nine months, and it was great in the beginning. Now, it seems that he wants to spend less and less time with me because he’s always in a hurry to go and do things with his friends. He does have a busy life, but does that mean he shouldn’t have to make an effort to spend time with me? I don’t think I’d be able to get over him if we broke up. That said, I don’t want to be second in his life. Do you think I’m asking too much of him? – In last place

Dear In last place: Of course you’re not asking too much of him! I can see that he’s a busy guy, juggling work demands with an active social life, but you’re part of his world now. The two of you have to agree to set some time aside to be together because it’s something you both want. I suspect that you don’t want to bring this up because you’re afraid he may say it’s not possible. Instead, you’ve decided to suffer in silence. This is no way to live. When we avoid things in life, it only fuels our anxiety about the situation. Right now, you’re the spare part in his life. Who needs that? It’s time to stop keeping things bottled up. The first step is to tell him how you’re feeling and see if he is genuinely interested in making time for your relationship. I know that you can change this pattern with him. Take a small step and you’ll soon begin to feel more in control of your happiness and your life.

Dear Susan:
My marriage of seven years fell apart when I decided to move to Canada. My husband was unwilling to take a chance on a better life for our family, so he stayed behind. For the past two years I’ve been raising my son on my own without any financial support from him. I am so focused on surviving that I’ve made no time for romance in my life. I’m in a dating rut and my self-esteem is zip. Am I doomed to continue my life as a lonely single mom forever? – Dreamer

Dear Dreamer: You’re not someone who is prone to falling into ruts. It takes chutzpa to move to another country and it takes stamina to raise a son by yourself. Low self-esteem!? How is that possible? You sound like a generous and courageous woman. Take pride in all you have accomplished. Continue to settle into your new life and at some point — maybe at a sporting event over this next year — you’re going to meet a new man. He’s going to be connected to your son’s school life, but you’ll cross paths at a game. He has warm eyes and he recognizes something about you that reminds him of his homeland, which I feel could be Asia. He will reach out to you and you will not be alone. For now, your life is still unsettled but it will calm down and eventually you will feel peace in your heart.

Photo by Norbert Mayer

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