DEAR AMY: A little over a year ago, I contracted Lyme disease. It has been an extremely tough time, health-wise.
A short time after being diagnosed, I met a woman who I feel is the love of my life. Things went well for a while until earlier this year, when she ended the relationship.
She said we were boring together and things just didn't click for her. I tried to tell her that the fatigue, nausea, neurological problems, etc., are so debilitating at times it's hard to function in a normal relationship. I guess I was boring because I was so ill.
Now I am doing much better. I tried to explain all of this to her but she is having none of it. She wants nothing to do with me.
I just can't seem to get over her. When we were together she was the kindest, most loving person and I love her deeply.
I'm depressed that I met her when I was so sick. I believe you meet the love of your life only once in a lifetime. I know if I hadn't been sick she would feel the same way, but I just wasn't any fun to be around. Can you help?
— Once Bitten
DEAR BITTEN: You believe that you meet the love of your life once in a lifetime. Even if this is true (I don't believe so), the matter of identifying who is the love of your life gets tricky.
I want to introduce two concepts to you: Character and timing.
The character question comes up when someone dumps a man because he's ill but says it's because he's boring.
The timing issue is more complicated. Cupid sometimes throws two otherwise compatible people at one another but then delivers a whammy: bad timing.
You must pay attention to your health. Work hard to stay positive in the face of this, because depression is both a symptom of your illness and a factor in your recovery.
As you wrestle with this, think about how you would behave if the roles were reversed. Realizing that your former girlfriend lacks character might help you move on.
DEAR AMY: I'm a 71-year-old recently retired physician. I have a former patient who has had numerous instabilities in his life.
I must have given him my email address years ago. He wants to be my friend. I don't. I guess I set myself up for this by being his friendly physician during office visits.
How do I extricate myself? I know this is about boundaries, and I know I need to set them, but I'm reaching out for help.
I could say, "Now that I have left the practice, I choose to set up boundaries, etc." Does this sound like a good idea?
— Retired Doc in Minneapolis
DEAR DOC: You did not "set yourself up for this" by being a friendly physician. Your former patient might be someone who simply doesn't understand or respect professional and social cues, which could be a factor in his unstable life.
Respond to an email from him by saying, "In my retirement, I'm no longer available to communicate with former patients. Here is a referral to a physician who I believe has openings in his practice to see new patients. I wish you all the best."
If he is persistent to the point of alarming you, you should notify the authorities.
DEAR AMY: I don't agree with your response to "No Vacation," the mom with the bratty 17-year-old son who would not go on a final family vacation.
The response from my wife and me would have been, "You don't ask a 17-year old to go on vacation; you tell them that they're going." Period.
If this kid has the idea he can dictate the family vacation plans, it is because of the parents. His desires are important and should be considered, but he should not have final authority.
— Vacationing Dad
DEAR DAD: When I answered this letter, I was in the throes of flashbacks to a long ago family vacation that my brother spent in the car. It would have been better to stay home.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.