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August 24, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

This urgent request for advice comes to you after many, many long hours of introspection, second-guessing, bad dreams, and profesional therapy.

I have been in a relationship with Robert for over four years. We have been exclusive for that entire time, and even lived together for one year. I moved out of his apartment about 7 months ago, and we have been going through a very stressful period of almost breaking up, and then trying again since then.

Although we have some pretty basic communication problems, and do tend to push each other's buttons a little too much, the main problem has boiled down to my wanting to get married and start a family, and his not wanting the responibility of children in his life.

I am 36 (he's 42) and for me the ticking has suddenly become VERY loud. I do love him, and we have a special connection that I'm afraid I may not find again with someone else. But he has made it clear that his feeling about having a family are not going to change, and I am left with the choice -- stay with him and give up my desire for a family, or move on, and hope that within the next four years or so, I will meet someone, who will want all the same things I do.

I have been struggling with this situation for so long, and I just can't seem to find the answer. It is truly making me crazy, and any help, or insights you can give would be a blessing.


Dear Viki --

On the one hand, there is no The Answer. On the other, it is possible to boil down the question into terms that are going to sound oversimplified, and perhaps even cold, but that really are the bottom line.

Here goes: What do you want more, a partner, or a child?

Or, put another way, which do you feel you cannot live [a fulfilled life] without?

You very well might get both -- and I'm not saying you should give up on that dream -- but point is, remember that you can always do a Murphy Brown. I'm not endorsing this option, I'm just tossing it into the ring, where, at very least, it might cast a different light on the others. I mean, you can "hope" that you will meet someone else, but in the '90s, you can, like, go out and "have" a child. Which is really hard to do on your own. And it's really hard to meet someone when you have a kid. But still, if you decide that progeny is paramount -- well, it's been done, and I'm sure you can do it too.

Or you can stay with Robert. Which is fine. But he has made his intentions more than clear, and that's his prerogative. So if you do stay with him, no fair saying your meeting ran late when you were really staring forlornly into the window of Cutie Patootie Clothes 'n' Toys listening to that infernal TICK TOCK.

This is a tough one, I know. I'll bet it's making you crazy, but I'll also bet you make a good partner. And/or a good mom.

Breakup Girl



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