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Annie Lane: Living in fear

Dear Annie: I’m a happily married woman with two young children. My problem is that I’m very overweight, and I’m desperately afraid that my husband will leave me for someone skinny. I’ve voiced these insecurities to him. He swears to God that I’m the only one he’ll ever love, that I’m so beautiful and that he has no interest in other women, skinny or otherwise. I am the only woman he’s ever been with, and he truly does treat me like I’m the world to him. But still, I find myself thinking that he might leave me. I think part of my problem is that I grew up with a very skinny sister, and that made my life hard, as people compared us. Do you think I need to worry about skinny women and my husband?

— Feeling Uneasy

Dear Feeling: Your husband loves you, clearly. But it doesn’t matter how many times I tell you that or he tells you that. The peace you seek won’t come from external reassurances. You need to develop more positive self-talk, to build yourself up rather than tear yourself down. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help with that. You can find a therapist who specializes in CBT at the Psychology Today website, or you can teach yourself some techniques with self-help books such as “Think Confident, Be Confident” by Leslie Sokol and Marci G. Fox, and “The Upward Spiral Workbook” by Alex Korb.

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Dear Annie: It was with a sinking heart that I read your reply to “Mixing Friends with Business,” who was unsure if she should use her friend as her real estate agent.

I went to school, passed a two-hour test and now am licensed by the state to sell real estate. I work under the supervision of a broker, am held to the highest ethical standards and must complete biannual courses to maintain my license. I am thankful for my many friends who have trusted me and hired me to help them with their real estate needs.

If you have a friend who is a real estate agent: Hire him or her. He or she will have your best interests at heart and will negotiate on your behalf. Some more experienced agents use methods designed to line their pockets quicker and encourage a seller to accept a lower offer so the agent can move on to higher-dollar properties. A realtor who is also your friend wouldn’t do that. You really did those of us struggling to make a living a disservice.

— Christine L.

Dear Christine: You really do make an excellent case that the plusses of working with friends outweigh potential minuses. A big mea culpa.

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Dear Annie: I have been working at a company for two years now. I currently work as a machine operator. I was hoping I’d be recommended as the next engineer, after another employee got transferred. It was a slap in the face when, instead, my boss decided to recommend a young guy out of high school who has only been here for about six months.

Now, I’m not usually one to accuse, but I honestly think it’s a race thing. The guy being recommended is white, and I am Black. What should my next move be? I’m considering a lawsuit.

— Frustrated

and Fed Up

Dear Frustrated: I’m not discounting the possibility of discrimination, but consider whether there could be other factors at play here you’re not aware of: e.g., is it possible he has some vocational training from school that might give him an edge for the role?

If you still suspect racism or racial bias, keep a log of any incidents that could potentially be interpreted as discriminatory. Then file a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (www.eeoc.gov).

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visitwww.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.