1/18/98 Advice Column
For most of history, a woman's power came by getting powerful men on her side, or by having sex with the most powerful man. That was her survival; the most powerful man was most likely to protect her and her children. It's in women's tribal memories -- and what a sexual thrill for a young girl. Sex with a president is pretty heady stuff :)
Unfortunately, what Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky found out is that powerful men can be fickle, and when push comes to shove and their power is in danger, they can betray a woman without a backward glance.
For a lot more on this, see my Interview with Gennifer Flowers.
Sorry, but that's the way it is,
I've had two wonderful relationships, which might otherwise have led to marriage, end over the kids question, and it's really walloped my ego. I keep feeling inadequate, like the men I meet value their hypothetical future children more than the real live woman -- me -- who has an actual relationship with them. Short of stating bluntly on the first date that I don't plan to reproduce, how can I handle this?
You can just call me "No Baby, Baby."
The problem with most people is that they wait until they're in a relationship to get a handle on the important non-negotiable issues, like whether you want to have children or not. That's how you got in trouble. So save yourself.
Next time, "state it bluntly," as you say. Put it right out there that you don't want kids -- preferably before you've even met the guy, like in the first "getting-acquainted-do-we-actually-want-to-make-a-date" conversation -- or at least on the first date. Why waste his time and yours if you're at odds on the kids question?
Look for a guy who's already had all the kids he wants, or if you're looking for an absolutely no-kids-ever kind of guy, you might want to join a Zero Population Growth group. They believe that the world is already too crowded; perhaps there you'll find a man who feels that having no children is a socially correct decision.
Regarding changing your mind: yes, you're likely to -- especially when you're about forty and suddenly realize you may lose the choice. And you realize that if you do at that time, you'll be in hot water with the "no baby" guy you've found...
But the next day something else happened - another close friend also unhappily married came up to me and also admitted the same thing - that she had intimate thoughts as well. This has thrown me into total confusion - as I have deep feelings for them both and up until last week both of these women were very close friends - but now it appears that they both want more than just friendship.
I've only been in one other relationship in my life - that was a marriage that lasted 8 years and have been alone for the last three so I really need some advice right now on how to deal with this situation. thnks
Don't date where you work. Don't spend long intimate times with married women.
Find a girlfriend outside of work. Let these women at work know that you are no longer available for hours of conversation as a shoulder to cry on or as a romantic interest. Suggest that they join a woman's support group or talk to a therapist or religious advisor. If a woman is being abused, refer her to the local social services office (usually listed in the front of your phone book) for help.
Be a friend, be supportive, but keep your distance both physically and romantically. Don't spend time alone away from work everyone with these or other married women. You may think their crushes on you are a secret, but the company wireless will broadcast it all over the place before you can stop it, and soon, everyone will know everything. Good luck,
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