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Hide and Seek

By Mink Stole | Posted 8/8/2001

I am single, female, and 26 years old. I have a good job and up until recently I felt my life was going pretty well. My parents encouraged my independence and were unenthusiastic about the few boyfriends I introduced them to, telling me I could hold out for better. While this wasn't the only reason I didn't stay with any of these men, when I marry I do want my family to get along with my husband. Well, I guess Mom and Dad figured I'd be married by now, because they've really changed their tune. Now they're telling me that I've been too picky. They say no man is perfect and that if I wait much longer I'll end up an old maid. They tell me all the time how much they want grandchildren. I want kids too, but they're trying to fix me up with every geeky nephew and cousin of every person they know. So now I'm not only feeling pressured, I'm getting worried. Are my chances of getting married at my age really remote?

Wishes to Wed

Dear Wishes:

Of course not. There was a huge whoop-de-do back in the '80s when an unpublished and unfinished research paper by some sociologists at Yale made national headlines with unproven statistics declaring a 35-year old woman's chances of marriage to be less than her chances of being kidnapped by terrorists. Months later, when other researchers found the study to be a big bag of crapola, the press ignored it. Unfortunately, it put the fear of spinsterhood (which, as a way of life, is vastly underrated) into the hearts and minds of American women for generations to come. Relax. You're only in your 20s. You've still got time for a passel of little ones.

Sure, the older you get, the more men your age are married; so are more women. But the older you get, the more you know about yourself, and about the kind of person you want to spend your life with. And, if you're lucky, the men you meet will be more mature as well. A husband is a partner for life, not just a sperm donor for the production of obligatory grandchildren. Your parents aren't the ones who will have to live with whatever endearing or annoying habits he'll be bringing with him, so they should let you be as choosy as you want to be. You do have to be realistic, however, and accept the fact that if you were thinking of holding out for Ewan McGregor, I already called dibs.

My boyfriend and I have been together on and off for about five years. When we're off it's mainly because I want out for a while, once so I could date someone else, which didn't last long, but mostly just so I can spend time alone. One of the things I love about him is that he's always been there for me when I wanted to come back. But last week he turned the tables on me completely. We'd been back together for a few months, and I thought everything was great, but one day--after telling me the night before that he loved me--he said it was over. Now I can't think of anything but getting him back. Do you think he was just trying to teach me a lesson?

Missing My Man

Dear Missing:

For years you've been treating this guy like a yo-yo: sending him away, bringing him back; sending him away, bringing him back. You had the power, and he let you use it. A girl can get used to that and start believing in her own supremacy. Then, when the one we believe is ours to command turns against us, we're shocked. It's possible you genuinely love this guy, but it's more likely that what you love more, and what you're missing more, is his unconditional devotion to you. For five years he's been yours to keep or reject; for him to break up with you is like having your dog run away from home.

I can't know why he left now instead of some other time. Maybe he was afraid you were going to leave him again and he wanted to get out first this time. Maybe he's angrier at the way things have been than he'd been aware of and just sort of snapped. It's completely possible, even likely, that he's after his little bit of revenge. He's human, after all, and humans are far less full of forgiveness than we'd like to believe. Most of us respond to being hurt by wanting to hurt back, even if we're not fully conscious of it.

Whatever his reasons, let him go. Even if he still loves you, he obviously needs to feel like he has some control over his own life. It hasn't done his self-respect any good to be your faithful standby for five years, knowing that at any time you might toss him aside like a pair of old shoes. He deserves a chance to get out from under your shadow. And you, my dear, will benefit hugely from living for a while without your disposable safety net.

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Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isnít like snake handling or Catholicism; it isnít a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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