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ask doctor aster
Advice from Dr. Aster should not be considered a substitute for therapy! Click here for help in finding a psychologist near you or here for mental health crisis hotlines.

Not Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Dear Dr. Aster:

After twenty-nine years of marriage, I'm single again. photo of roberta isleib Now I'm ready to dive back in to the dating world. What's the best place to meet potential partners? No singles bars please. I'm not looking for Mr. Goodbar and I don't drink anyway.
Sincerely, Ready to Rock n' Roll.

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Dear Ms. Rock n' Roll:

May I assume you've taken the advice I've given other readers (wink, nudge), and spent enough time alone to sort out what went wrong in your marriage? If so, get
 

ready for a strange adventure! Believe me, the world has changed since you were last on the dating scene. You have dozens of online dating services at your fingertips offering many potential new friends. The key here is to use these services wisely and screen the respondents with care.

On the other hand, your question makes a very good, old-fashioned point: Why not meet someone with similar interests rather than a lounge lizard? Are you a tennis player? Sign up for a round robin of mixed doubles. Always wanted to play golf? Take a clinic at your local country club. Bridge, crafts, town politics, writing, church committees, the opportunities are as wide open as your interests and imagination. Even if Prince Charming doesn't show up, you'll have spent pleasant and productive time doing the things you love!
Good luck and be careful!

From DEADLY ADVICE.

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Headed for Heartache

Dear Dr. Aster:

My husband admits to having an affair with his secretary. He swears it's over and has begged my forgiveness, but he refuses to fire her. I've always stayed at home with my children and now it's hard to imagine how I can survive on my own. He insists that if only we add a little zing to our sex life, we won't have any more problems. Should I believe him?

Signed, Chagrined in Cincinnati.

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Dear Chagrined:

May I be perfectly frank? Blaming your marital problems on a dull sex

 

life is a gross oversimplification: Relationships with a capital 'R' don't thrive on sex alone. I'd recommend visits to a marriage counselor to talk about how to rebuild the trust between you. Then let your husband show you he's ready to keep his word and his vows this time (he's been a royal flop so far.) Finally, please get thee to a therapist to talk about your own confidence and self-esteem. Until you believe you deserve a loyal and loving man, I'm afraid you're headed for more heartache. Good luck!

From DEADLY ADVICE.

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Addicted to Love

Hey Doc,

I think I'm addicted to an online dating service called Match.com. I've already met 85 guys--first dates only. Well, actually #85 has seemed to really pique my attention. What should I do? Should I go onto 100 or stick with #85 since he's a sweetie?

Matchless in Meriden

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Dear Matchless,

Please excuse Dr. Aster while she goes

 

to lie down. She has not had eighty first dates over twenty years! Let's be honest here--you're not interested in finding ONE guy, you're hooked by the meet and greet (or should I say MEAT and greet?). When you're ready to settle to down, one of the Match-men will start to look better than the others. In the meanwhile, be careful out there. Don't let your weirdo antennae get dulled by the sheer volume of men you're processing.

Good luck and Be Careful!

From DEADLY ADVICE.

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Two's a Crowd

Dear Dr. Aster,

My husband, partner in a law firm, is retiring at the end of the month. Frankly, I'm panicked at the thought of having him home all day! He's quite used to having a secretary at his beck and call, along with a stable of aspiring young law clerks. For thirty years, he's left the house at seven am and shown up for his supper at night, leaving me time and freedom to run the household and pursue my own interests. On vacations and weekends, I get a little taste of what it will be like to suffer his constant commentary. Any suggestions to help this marriage survive his retirement?

Sincerely, Panicked in Princeton

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Dear Panicked,

First of all, congratulations are due to both of you for thirty years of marriage! Hopefully, you'll be able to enjoy another thirty together in this new phase of life.
 

That aside, you are quite right to expect that your husband's retirement will bring a period of adjustment. For heaven's sake my friend, your husband is losing a lot as he steps down from his job--his roles as provider, leader, respected professional. It may well take him some time to regain his balance and set off on his next set of adventures--whether they be on the golf course, in community activities, or as world traveler. The most important thing the two of you can do is talk: start conversations about how he feels about leaving, how you feel about having company at home, how retirement might change the distribution of chores, and so on. The transition will go oh-so-much more smoothly if you approach the changes as a team. When first married, most couples talk about their common goals and dreams, but over the years, these conversations can get lost in the bustle of everyday life. Now is the time to reconnect. Don't hesitate to let him know if you feel crowded, but also give him some time and space to regain his balance.

Good luck and enjoy the new challenge!

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