DEAR AMY: I'm a 65-year-old, married woman with grandchildren. I live with my husband. I love social media. I suppose it's because I'm lonely for attention. I meet young guys on social media and develop strong feelings for them. I don't think myself as a flirt, but I have compassion for these guys going through hard times. Is my way of thinking normal? I know that we're never going to be together, but when one guy ignores my messages I get really upset. What is your advice for me?


DEAR LONELY: My concern for your emotional and physical security overrides my main advice, which is for you to look for other outlets and ways to develop healthier relationships. Ideally, you would seek the cure for your own loneliness within your own household, but this might not be possible.

You don't say who you are connecting with, or through what channels, but it is obvious that your interest in these men is romantic. They, like you, are trawling for people to connect with, but their motives might be different from yours. They might portray themselves as needing help, but of course, on the internet, anyone can basically sell a lie. Do not share any financial information, or send them money. Depending on their motivations, they may be moving on from you when you don't accept their baited hook.

There is nothing inherently wrong with meeting and developing relationships with people online. I have people in my own life I consider friends who I have never met in person.

Unfortunately for you, this contact is sending you on an emotional roller coaster. The "high" endorphin rush of getting a ping from a guy online lasts for a while, and then you crash when the guy moves on to someone else. You respond to the crash by instinctively searching for a new high. It is a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, each cycle will make you feel worse about yourself, in slow cumulative stages. I hope you will realize this, and use this insight to seek to treat your loneliness in ways that are healthier for you.

DEAR AMY: My mother passed away recently, and many family/friends made donations in her name, including thoughtful donations to my child's school. If there is any problem with the donation (non-receipt of a tax ID letter, non-acknowledgement with a thank you letter, etc.), people have been turning to me to vent their frustration, requesting that I follow up on their behalf to figure out why their donation was not appreciated/acknowledged as they expected. I appreciate these donations, but I did not solicit them, and I am having a hard time figuring out the best way to handle these requests. I would simply handle things by myself if I were in their shoes, just as I would with any other glitch regarding a payment or donation for which there wasn't a personal connection, particularly when there is a death or other emotional stress involved in the reason for the original donation. Any advice?

At a Loss

DEAR AT A LOSS: This is happening because people, well, people don't always behave in ideal ways.

You should make sure that you thank each of these people personally for their thoughtfulness (just in case your acknowledgment is what they are really asking for).

If there is a nonprofit recipient you have a personal connection with which seems to be particularly or universally remiss (your daughter's school, for instance), then I think it would be wise to make a call and/or email the school's development office to convey the overall frustration of this group of donors. If you have a stake in the future of this organization, you will want to advocate for them to acknowledge gifts appropriately.

If someone asks you outright to handle this for them with an organization you don't have a particular connection to, you should respond, "It was so thoughtful of you to do this; I'm sorry this has become a frustration. Unfortunately, I don't have any more insight into this than you do. I hope you can get it sorted out."

DEAR AMY: "Responsible or Not?" asked the important question of whether she is responsible for taking care of her alcoholic mother. Amy, alcoholism is a disease. I thought you were very harsh.


DEAR UPSET: Before she was an alcoholic, this mother was reportedly a toxic, terrible parent.

I supported this adult child's choice to let her mother continue to make unhealthy choices without trying to rescue or bail her out.

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