Susan Deitz

DEAR SUSAN: I know it's crazy, but I actually feel like more of a woman when I'm with my man. I feel whole and complete when he's with me. What's going on with me?

From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: I admit that it's a conundrum. And some of us never get it right. The thing is that most people tend to believe it's another person, a lover, who can make us (feel) complete. So we search high and low for the person who makes us feel like a real woman/man, totally fulfilled, whole. But what actually happens is that the very act of loving reconnects you with the ability to love, and that ability is the element that's been missing. To put it plainly, your beloved is a catalyst, not a missing piece. (That's worth another read.) It isn't that he or she fills you up and makes you whole and you're all jagged edges without the person. Remembering that, you can begin to break patterns that have kept you chained to looking for love in all the wrong places. (Anything that does that is worth remembering, no?) Think of the ramifications. You become your own savior and in the process liberate a beloved from the onerous task of being all things to you.

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DEAR SUSAN: I talk about myself a lot, I know, but I'm not nearly so selfish as some other people I meet. I just never learned how to talk about other things.

From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Good bit of insight, that -- and an excellent starting point for your personality reset. The thing is that to be interesting you need to be interested in the world around you. That takes a maintenance plan of reading the newspaper daily, leafing through respected magazines, joining a group of people who share at least one of your interests. (If you're at all religious, your house of worship would be a good starting point because such places usually have groups and committees, some of which might attract you.) But -- and this is a huge but -- your interest needs to be sincere, not an obvious ploy to meet the other gender.

So in a sense, this new phase in your life can be a rebirth, a new entrance into the world not as a teenager but as an adult with good sense and discrimination. You'll meet people in a new way, not on a mission to get a date or sex but as someone truly curious about what's going on in your community, at your alma mater, in the larger world. Beginning at the local level, you might one weekend visit your local United Way, asking questions and perhaps volunteering to be part of a project. The beauty part of charity work is the nonmaterial motive of the people you meet there, people whose values go beyond money. Shared values -- even more than shared interests -- are a huge plus when growing a relationship.