DEAR ABBY: I am a 31-year-old woman who has been in many relationships since high school. No engagements, however, although four of the men mentioned they wanted to marry me. I lived with three of them.
I’m a former model, have almost completed my second master’s degree and hold a steady government job. I don’t understand why I feel so depressed just because no one has ever wanted to marry me. I have wanted kids my entire life and thought I would have three before I was 30. Now I cry every day thinking how I may never be in a relationship with anyone who will love me enough to marry me, or have kids with me because marriage never happened.
I have a college fund set up for my “future” children and have done everything in my life to prepare to be a mom. I paid off my student loans early, got a car that was perfect for car seats and a dog that’s a good breed for kids. I just don’t know where to turn next. — YEARNS TO BE WIFE/MOM
DEAR YEARNS: You seem to be a nice, accomplished woman with traditional values. Could it be possible that you are so focused on getting married that you have chased away your suitors? From what you have written, you may have put the cart before the horse. Allow a relationship to play out naturally before focusing on a rush to the altar.
Although you yearn for marriage before maternity, it’s important you don’t forget there may be other options. Marriage isn’t in the cards for everyone. Some single women focus on their careers and/or adopt children who need loving homes. You could be one of them if you expand your horizons.
DEAR ABBY: I am currently struggling with a difficult parent. Actually, I have struggled with this relationship as far back as I can remember. My parent can be extremely hurtful and nasty at times, and when it happens, I feel stripped naked. I become almost paralyzed with pain and can barely stomach being in the same room with this person. Please help me find a way to handle these episodes appropriately with some level of functionality. I’m in my 50s now and in menopause, which is making everything more difficult. — SAD BEYOND WORDS
DEAR SAD: This isn’t a new problem; it’s a very old one. Ask yourself what this person has to offer you other than more abuse. Warn your parent that you will no longer tolerate being treated the way you have been, and the moment it starts, leave the premises or hang up the phone. Repeat your message if/when it happens again, and do not go back for more abuse. This is called drawing the line (better late than never) and protecting yourself. If apologies are offered, fine. If not, you are free.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)