Guilt min­gles with grief af­ter boyfriend’s death

The Western Star - - Life - Abi­gail Van Buren Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.Dear­ or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend died un­ex­pect­edly a few months ago, and it has been a strug­gle to get through my sad­ness. We had been through a lot in the year and a half we were dat­ing, in­clud­ing some in­fi­deli­ties on my part.

Aside from my sad­ness and guilt, I’m strug­gling with the fear that I’ll never live down my in­fi­deli­ties or be able to make it up to him. It is cloud­ing the pos­i­tive mem­o­ries I have of him. I don’t know how to stop my thoughts from go­ing all over the place. Please help. — SAD IN SACRA­MENTO

DEAR SAD: Much as we might wish to, none of us can change the past. I as­sume that you have now learned that it’s best to re­main faith­ful in your ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships. That’s a step in the right di­rec­tion. The next step is to re­solve that in fu­ture re­la­tion­ships you won’t stray, and if you are tempted to, you will dis­cuss with your boyfriend what you feel is miss­ing in your re­la­tion­ship.

As to how to dis­rupt the in­tru­sive mem­o­ries that keep flood­ing back, a tech­nique many peo­ple use is to RE­MIND them­selves to stay in the mo­ment each time an un­wanted mem­ory pops up. The tech­nique is called “mind­ful­ness,” and it works.

DEAR ABBY: I am won­der­ing what the rule is for so­cial­iz­ing at the gym. I work out twice a week with a friend, and we usu­ally do part of our work­out on the tread­mill. While we walk, we will chat. We don’t talk loudly, and we never use of­fen­sive lan­guage. It’s just gen­eral chit-chat about kids, work, etc. Twice, one woman (the same woman) has or­dered us to stop talk­ing be­cause we “bother” her. She wears head­phones while she watches TV, but she says she can still hear us.

Abby, when I wear head­phones (even on a very low vol­ume), it tunes out al­most ev­ery­thing. By her strong re­ac­tion, I am as­sum­ing this woman

is unusu­ally sen­si­tive to noise, but this is a gym, not a li­brary. We never mo­nop­o­lize the ma­chines. I don’t think I have ever been called rude in any other sit­u­a­tion, and I al­ways try to be pleas­ant and ac­com­mo­dat­ing, so I would ap­pre­ci­ate your thoughts. — CHERYL IN HOUS­TON

DEAR CHERYL: I do have a few. When peo­ple work out at a shared fa­cil­ity, they have to ex­pect there will be other peo­ple there. Tread­mills make noise, and some­times it’s nec­es­sary to speak in a louder than nor­mal voice in or­der to be heard. If the woman com­plains again, sug­gest she move to a tread­mill far­ther away or in­crease the vol­ume on her head­phones so your con­ver­sa­tion won’t dis­turb her. How­ever, if that doesn’t sat­isfy

her, men­tion that she might be hap­pier if she worked out at a dif­fer­ent time when the place isn’t as full.

DEAR ABBY: Most every­one ap­pears to be fight­ing over pol­i­tics these days, and there’s even in-fight­ing within each side. Will it ever stop? — BAF­FLED IN THE EAST

DEAR BAF­FLED: Per­haps. But it won’t hap­pen un­til peo­ple stop shout­ing (lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively), de­cide to bring ci­vil­ity back and start lis­ten­ing re­spect­fully to each other.

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