Soldier Must First Love Himself
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Dear Christine,

I just wanted some advice or some hope. I am in bad shape!

I am in the army and was dating a beautiful woman for two years. I loved her more than life itself. My sun and moon rose and set with her. I am 27 and she is 22. She lived and worked in London and I in Toronto. She was having live-in job related problems, so we decided to move in together. Because she had a good job working with the disabled, I offered to live in London and commute. Every day for the past nine months I drove five hours to and from Toronto. I spent all my money buying a new car for the commute. I got a lovely apartment and a cat for us. I gave up all my friends in Toronto and paid for 70% of everything. I wanted to get married and have a family. I was looking at a new job and a beautiful gold ring.

When I went away on exercise with the army, I came back early because she told me she was leaving me. I traveled thirteen hours to come home to her packing up. She said she didnít love me anymore, needed to be single, and was never coming back.

I cry every day. I had a nervous breakdown, lost my job, and have been staying at my parentsí house because I am petrified to go back to the apartment.

She even took the cat. Please help! -- A CRUSHED, BROKEN, WEAK MAN BETWEEN TORONTO & LONDON

Dear Crushed,

My first instinct was to tell you, in my best drill sergeant voice, to walk it off, soldier! But I can see that you need a more sensitive response.

The simplest and most difficult thing that you must do is to start loving yourself.

Anytime we love someone else more than ourselves, we risk leaving a hole that we donít know how to fill when theyíre gone.

If you donít have a sense of wholeness on your own, too much pressure is piled on your partner, and they often feel smothered and overwhelmed, causing them to run away.

It is difficult to suffer a loss, but it is important to start rebuilding your life.

Also, ask yourself if you are looking at the relationship for what it truly was, or what you wanted it to be? Often we find that we were actually mourning the loss of what we wanted the relationship to be rather than what we actually had. If this is the case -- and you can admit it -- itíll be much easier to let go.

Either way, youíll eventually have to stop mourning (wallowing), find your self-respect and get back to the real world.

Dear Christine,

For some time, Iíve been having trust issues with my husband. Heís given me numerous reasons to suspect him of cheating. The topper was when he recently came home from a business trip, and I found a condom in his back pocket. Do I need to jump to conclusions? How should I handle this? -- CHERYL Ė RED DEAR, ALTA

Dear Cheryl,

Thereís evidence of intent, and then thereís jumping to conclusions. You have evidence.

If he brought home a fishing pole, one would assume heís a fisherman. If he came back with golf clubs, one would assume heís a golfer. Since he returned with a condom, one can only assume heís an adulterer.

There is no reasonable explanation for him having a condom on a trip you werenít going on. Using my wildest imagination, the best panicked response I can imagine him coming up with is some convoluted story about how he was holding it for a friend.

Itís safe to say that when you confront him, you are not likely to get an answer that will satisfy you. Therefore, before you say anything, you need to decide what youíre going to do and make plans.

My final thought is next time, instead of bringing home a condom, he might bring home an STD.

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