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Dear Abby 1/20
Woman on top of the world fears she's climbed too high
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DEAR ABBY: I am a friendly, happy, well-rounded student. I am president of my class in medical school, currently a 4.0 student and top-ranked in my class. I have a wonderful life. I am artistic, intelligent, attractive, very successful in work and at school. I have a lovely apartment, a new car, fulfilling hobbies, great friendships, and a fiance who is kind, loving and supportive.
    I seem to have it all. In fact, I do — and I feel guilty about it. I had an unhappy childhood coupled with a low-income household growing up, and now I feel as if this happy life is too good for me. I know I earned most of what I have — I worked two jobs as an undergraduate and have been a dedicated student my entire life. Yet I still feel undeserving. How can I be happy about my happiness?  — DOESN'T DESERVE IT IN LOUISIANA
    DEAR DOESN'T DESERVE IT: To use the vernacular, it may take some couch time and the help of a psychotherapist. If I had to take a guess, I'd say your feelings of unworthiness relate to your unhappy childhood — or, possibly that you were able to overcome your background while others in your family were not. Please start ASAP because, for someone who has accomplished as much as you have, you deserve to enjoy the psychic rewards of what you have achieved.
    DEAR ABBY: I am crazy about a girl at work. I'll call her "Marsha." Marsha is very nice, but she never wants to socialize after work. She doesn't go out with the other men or women either. She always has a weak excuse — she has a cold, her dog is sick, etc.
    For two years Marsha has promised that we would go bowling; however, it has never happened. I would be happy to go out with her as a friend, in a group — on any condition. How can I get her to take the next step in socializing? — "JACK" IN RENO
    DEAR "JACK": Has it occurred to you that Marsha might already be involved with someone? It could also be that she prefers to keep her personal life and her business life separate. Whatever her reasons may be, after two years of polite refusals and postponements, it's time to take the hint and transfer your affections elsewhere. It appears that she's not interested in you in "that way."
    DEAR ABBY: For five years I have exchanged letters with a wonderful pen pal. We are both females in our early 60s and have a lot in common. We trade recipes, bookmarks, etc. Reading her letters has been a delightful experience.
    Recently she got her letters mixed up, and I got one that was meant for a close friend of hers. When I read it, I realized her life is not at all how she has described it to me! Do pen pals lie because their chances of being found out are slim?
    I now realize our relationship is based on lies. Why would she deceive me? — DECEIVED AND ANGRY IN QUEBEC
    DEAR DECEIVED AND ANGRY: I have heard of this happening in online relationships, less frequently in pen pal correspondence. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that in writing to you this woman has been able to enjoy an idealized fantasy life that is probably far happier than her reality. The person who can best answer your question, of course, is your pen pal. (If the recipes were good — look on the bright side!)
    P.S. If you're curious, return her letter with a short note explaining that she must have gotten her envelopes mixed up and see what her next move is.
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