am middle-aged and have never been married.
Recently, my first love, who
is in the process of a divorce, called me. I haven’t seen her for nearly twenty years.
Although our lives have changed immensely, there is still a flicker of the old flame we
Would it be a ridiculous to pursue this potential
romance? -- GORD – WASHTENAH, MI
sucker for ridiculous. I’m also a sucker for “Auld Lang Syne” or a blast from the past.
But before I say, “Go for it,” let’s take a look at your situation and
First, look at your old self. Why did you break up the first time?
If the reasons were bad timing or immaturity, you might actually stand a chance the
second time around.
Now look at your new self. How is your life? Is this
about boredom or loneliness? Or is she the one who got away? Either way, you’ve got
nothing to lose.
This could range from having fun catching up to finding
out what could have been.
Even if your last breakup was horrific, you
have to ask yourself, “Can people change?” Given the amount of time that has passed, I
think so. Be open-minded and see if your first love could be your last
Go for it.
A word of caution: She may be rebounding
-- backward. Be sure to wait until the divorce papers are signed, sealed, and delivered
before getting too serious. You waited this long; take your time and get to know each
I think you may
have missed something important in the letter from “Should I Stay or Should I Go
She may be suffering from depression and could benefit from
counselling, medication, or both.
Severe stress (like her money problems)
can bring about symptoms of depression, such as her indifference toward intimacy with her
boyfriend and her irritability, causing her to “take her frustrations out on their
If this is the case, your advice to be more romantic and
apply the old saying: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” is at best
unhelpful and condescending.
I hope you will pass on these suggestions to
her. -- TAMARA – ST. THOMAS, ON
Thank you for your concern.
Since, like me, you
don’t have a Ph.D. beside your name, I decided to do some research, which I’ve run by
Australian psychologist, Dr. Bob
Rich, M. Sc., Ph. D., for confirmation.
Below are 13 unlucky symptoms
- extreme and persistent sadness or
- fatigue escalating to lethargy
- increased crying, anxiety, and
- restlessness, irritability
- difficulty concentrating or poor
- substance abuse
- sudden change in appetite
- insomnia or
disruption of normal sleep patterns
- loss of interest in ordinary activities, such
- persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to
- difficulty thinking or concentrating
- feeling hopeless, helpless,
worthless, pessimistic, and/or guilty
- thoughts of suicide; suicide plans or
Since “Should I” only cited the two you mentioned, popping
pills in her case would be like watering a houseplant with a
Again, I am not a doctor, but many sources say those who do
suffer from five or more symptoms at the same time for two weeks or more should consult a
physician or psychologist.
But for those who are plagued by unnerving, yet
everyday, problems, I still think an effort to communicate and work things out with loved
ones would be more appropriate.
Dr. Rich adds, “If a person is painfully
unhappy and unable to deal with the problems of life, then help may be needed, and a few
sessions with a competent helper can make an enormous
Finally, Rich agrees with me when I say that in our modern
world of quick fixes, we should be cautious not to take on an attitude that says, “When
the going gets tough, the tough get medicated.”
Have a question, a
thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? E-mail Christine at: