Dear Annie: My wife and I have three perfect grandchildren, ages 1, 5 and 7. We love watching them at least one day a week. Their parents are caring and careful.
But occasionally when I am just about to fall asleep, I have “waking dreams” that the most horrible things happen to the kids. Why? I am able to push these disturbing thoughts out of my brain in a few seconds. I don’t want to pay a psychiatrist for the answer.
— Worried in Kentucky
Dear Worried in Kentucky: While I admire your ability to push those disturbing thoughts out of your mind, nonetheless, that which we resist, persists. It might be beneficial to talk to your wife or a counselor about these thoughts. Sometimes just acknowledging and talking about your fears make your fears lessen. If you try to go at it alone, you will continue to suffer.
It could be a sign of generalized anxiety or a form of OCD, but I would consult with a professional. In the meantime, keep up the good work with your grandkids. They are fortunate to have you and your wife.
Dear Annie: I’m seeking a new job. Pretty much all the jobs I’ve had have been facilitated by referrals (I know someone who knows someone). So I’m pessimistic about my chances of landing something in a place where I don’t know anyone. How can I make myself stand out?
These jobs I’m applying for have 100-plus applicants, and thanks to imposter syndrome, I don’t feel all that qualified to begin with. My motivation is lacking, though I am committed to the end goal. What should I do to nip the bad juju and fight the good fight?
— Jaded Job-Seeker
Dear Jaded Job-Seeker: One way to make yourself stand out is to walk around with a chip on your shoulder, which is what you are doing. I hope you are aware of just how negative your perspective is and what it will do to sabotage your finding a more desirable job.
Instead of focusing on the referrals that you don’t have, or the idea that you’re not good enough for the job, focus on your strengths. Out of the 100-plus applicants, one has to get the job, and the question is, “Why not you?” That is a question you have to ask your self-esteem. You deserve to have your dream job, and you will land it once you shake off a negative attitude.
Dear Annie: I am writing about “Passionless Partners,” to the man who loves the woman who nursed him back to health but lacks passion during sex.
The guy’s suspicion is right: The passion, if not there now, will never be. You can fool yourself and think it will get better, but it ain’t gonna happen. Simple. Grin and bear it.
There’s a statement I saw once, which is: “I can think of a million reasons to leave my wife, but then I look for only ONE reason to stay.” He needs to realize what’s important and that sometimes what’s important is unachievable.
The message of the Serenity Prayer is: “God, grant me the power to know the difference between things I can change versus things I can’t.”
There are probably hundreds of situations that could be substituted for the word “passionless,” but whatever word you use — money, sex, in-laws, children, whatever — if it ain’t there now, it ain’t gonna be. All the therapy in the world won’t help. It may help you have a deeper understanding of the problem, but you’ve got to solve it.
— Realistic Expectations
Dear Realistic: Thank you for your interesting perspective. It sounds like you have experienced similar things as “Passionless Partners.” However, people can and do change in some instances. Otherwise, we would all be doomed to first impressions. Life is about hope and love and change, and those can be achieved much more easily with a positive attitude and a good therapist.
Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.