Dear Readers, I really appreciate your questions and comments. I need to hear from you to keep this column interesting.  Please send questions and comments to me at Donnie@coastalview.com or mizdoni@gmail.com. All names are kept confidential and all questions will be edited for brevity and clarity.

Dear Donnie,

My husband retired last year and was completely lost at first. I still work and he was lonely. I suggested he join one of the groups at our church. To my utter surprise, he joined a small fringe group of zealots.  He joins protestors at Planned Parenthood. He goes to Second Amendment support rallies.  He also expresses prejudice against gays and Mexicans. I am shocked and embarrassed. How do I get him to stop this behavior?

Signed,

Blindsided Betty

Dear Betty,

His actions are a drastic cure for loneliness, especially if he never expressed these opinions before. First, I would talk to the priest or pastor of your church. Does the congregation support this activist group?  Does the group act in the name of the church? One of the benefits of church membership is that sense of community. It also offers an opportunity to demonstrate one’s religious beliefs. I am assuming you have let your husband know that you don’t approve of this new behavior. It is his right to join any group he chooses, but if it upsets you and he continues, you have serious problems in your marriage. A few sessions with a good therapist will help get to the root of your problem. You should also take him to a doctor. A sudden change in behavior could be a medical problem or mental health issue. Good luck.

Dear Donnie,

I am in my mid-40s and very unhappy. I have been in two long term relationships, but I have never been married or had children. I am also in a dead-end job. I feel that all my friends have discovered the secret of happiness, but it has eluded me.  

Signed,

Desperately Seeking Joy

Dear Joy,

I’m sorry that you are so unhappy. There are numerous books on the subject.  One of my favorites is “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama. Here is my own formula: Have somebody to love, something satisfying to do and something to look forward to.  Try making that work.  That “somebody to love” can be a dog, a cat or a family member. “Something to do” can be a hobby, a job or volunteer work. “Something to look forward to” can be a trip, a vacation, a special occasion or even lunch with a friend.   Happiness is a lifelong pursuit. Get started.

Note:  Remember last month’s question regarding baby names?  The new daughter-in-law named her first two sons “Mustang” and “Bronco” and the grandmother was afraid she would give the new baby a weird name. She just contacted me with the news that the baby is a boy and will be named Bentley. She is pleased and relieved. Apparently, the mother favors names of cars.

After a busy involved life in Carpinteria, Donnie Nair is embracing carefree living near family in Paso Robles. Her column appears the third Thursday of the month. Questions are subject to editing, and not all will be answered.

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