Tuesday, May 6, 2008

She wants romance but hates that she wants romantic partner

Dear Cheryl: I have two major problems tied together: 1) I really want to find a romantic partner, and 2) I hate myself for feeling that I need one. I've been told my whole life that I need to be independent and able to take care of myself. I am. I'm a 23-year-old graduate student at a prestigious world university in a challenging male-dominated technical field. I love the professional opportunities and challenges available.

However, I feel terribly guilt-ridden and weak because I'm not happy with my personal life. I feel that I'm failing as a professional woman because I'm not satisfied with a life that consists of just my friends and me.

I've been told over and over to be patient, to concentrate on being an interesting, attractive person and that the rest would take care of itself. But it isn't. I feel this horrible sense of failure because I'm lonely—not for want of friends or family—but for want of a real relationship.

I hate myself for wanting a partner, not necessarily a husband, yet—but a partner. I hate myself because I want a man I can depend on when I know logically that I should depend only on myself. I know I can work, live and even thrive professionally by myself, but I don't want to anymore. The only thing I hate more than being alone is the guilt I feel over hating being alone.

I don't know what to do. I've tried joining clubs, starting new hobbies, taking up dancing, online dating, fix-ups by friends, clubs, bars. I'm not unattractive and don't have a terrible personality. I just can't find anyone I fit with and I'm not happy with the "be patient" approach. I've seen too many women end up permanently alone.

—I Am Woman Hear Me Roar

Dear I Am Woman Hear Me Roar: You've come a long way, baby. A long way since Gloria Steinem said, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." Turns out, fish might not need bicycles, but women do need men. A least most of them do if they want to have healthy, happy lives with children and families. So, get over your guilt over wanting a partner. That is so mid-20th Century.

Now, how to find him—that's a different story. You're doing everything right. In fact, you're doing too much. Select the one or two activities that you really enjoy and concentrate on them. And look around your classrooms. They must be full of men who share your interests. (By the way, even Gloria Steinem got married. If it was good enough for her ...)

Dear Cheryl: I caught my husband watching Internet porn. Before this happened, I had lost interest in sex for a while. I didn't tell him I knew what he was doing. What I did was to really step up the sex with him to let him know I was interested again. A few days after we had good sex, I caught him again.

This time I confronted him. He said he would stop and we worked things out. But I'm still the one who's initiating sex. What should I do? Should I continue to seduce him or let him come to me when he wants it?

—Back in the Mood

Dear Back in the Mood: Your husband might think that your renewed interest in sex is only temporary. Or he may be hooked on Internet porn. How do you feel about porn? Would you be willing to watch it with him? That's one option.

In the meantime, continue to seduce him. See if he gets the hint that your interest in sex isn't a passing thing. Stay in touch and let's see what's going on.

No comments: