Col­lege brings big changes for ev­ery­one

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360BETS - Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Dear Abby ap­pears on Sun­day, Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day. E-mail Dear Abby at www.

Dear Abby: I am 18 and sad all the time. I have never had a boyfriend and have strug­gled with anx­i­ety and lone­li­ness. It has been a roller­coaster year for me — a tough first year of col­lege, watch­ing all of my friends en­ter mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ships. All I can do is be ashamed of the fact that I’m strug­gling while oth­ers are thriv­ing. I need help but don’t know where to turn.

— A Com­plete Mess in Ohio

Dear Com­plete Mess: Be­fore I start of­fer­ing you ad­vice, please let me point out that the first year of col­lege is a huge ad­just­ment for ev­ery­one. You’re away from your usual sup­port sys­tems, ad­just­ing to a new en­vi­ron­ment and new re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. In­stead of com­par­ing your­self to your friends who are en­ter­ing “mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ships,” please look around at all of the stu­dents who are sin­gle like you are. If you do, you will re­al­ize they out­num­ber the ones who are cou­pled up.

Be­cause you are sad for ex­tended pe­ri­ods, you should head over to the stu­dent health cen­ter and talk about it with a coun­selor. He or she will help you find ways to over­come your feel­ings of iso­la­tion, anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion — but only if some­one who is qual­i­fied knows you’re hav­ing trou­ble. And please don’t waste one minute be­ing “ashamed.” What you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing is not un­com­mon.

Dear Abby: I am the mother of two young chil­dren. Three years ago, I di­vorced my hus­band of eight years. My mother does not ac­cept the divorce and still views my ex as a fam­ily mem­ber. She’s plan­ning a fam­ily re­union for my fa­ther’s 80th birth­day and has told me she’s invit­ing my ex, which will be un­com­fort­able be­cause I am at­tend­ing the party with my boyfriend of two years.

My mother’s un­will­ing­ness to ac­cept my new boyfriend in my life is hurt­ful, and it is af­fect­ing my re­la­tion­ship with her. How can I sus­tain a re­la­tion­ship with her if she doesn’t ac­cept that I have moved on with my life?

— Ir­ri­tated in New Hamp­shire

Dear Ir­ri­tated: You have moved on with your life. But in the eight years you were mar­ried, your mother grew at­tached to your for­mer hus­band. I as­sume that you and your ex have a civil re­la­tion­ship, if only for the sake of your chil­dren. So go to the re­union with your boyfriend. Give your par­ents ev­ery op­por­tu­nity you can to get to know him, be­cause the more they are ex­posed to him, the greater the chances of their ac­cept­ing him.

P.S. Wouldn’t it be lovely if your ex were to bring a date? Why not call him and plant the idea?

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