Featured Short Letter

This Week - Balance Sheet

When I first came to this office, I met a woman who was overworked. I tried to help her, and in the bargain we became close. I took her home. I bought her lunches and gave her gifts which she accepted without any problem.

During this whole time I thought she was single. Now I have come to know she is having an affair with a colleague who is a good friend. She doesn't know I know about her boyfriend. Is she just passing time and using me, or is she really interested in me? Kindly help me resolve this dilemma.

Raj

Raj, try this. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns. On the left side, list the qualities you would like to find in a woman. On the right side, list the qualities of a woman who tantalizes one man while having an affair with another.

Wayne & Tamara

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Last Week - Stalemate

I am 20, my boyfriend 21, and we have been dating for about a year. We fell in love quickly and have casually discussed marrying once we finish school. We are aware that is not in the immediate future.

We hardly fight and agree on most things, except he is positive he doesn't want children and I am positive I would like to be a mother someday. He is wonderful with children, but says he wants to devote his life to his wife, a career, and travel, without worrying about raising kids.

Should I continue dating him, hoping his view on children will change as he gets older, or should we break up now—leaving us both heartbroken—before we get even more attached to each other?

Nadia

Nadia, people describe any difficult choice as a dilemma, but the original meaning of the word was quite narrow. Originally a dilemma referred to a choice between two bad options, and people caught in such a plight were said to be on the horns of the dilemma.

Do you want to be gored by the left horn or by the right? That's a dilemma, and that's not much of a choice. Heads I win, tails you lose. In reality, we are seldom faced with a true dilemma. What we are faced with is the choice between a wise course of action and an easy course. The easy course usually involves doing nothing.

There is a simple way to determine whether you are faced with a genuine dilemma. Ask of each alternative, what would happen if I did this? For example, what would happen if you broke up with your boyfriend? You would both be sad, but that is part of the cycle of dating. And if you stay with him? How will that play out?

Let us tell you about a letter we received nearly a decade ago. This writer described her husband as a wonderful companion, then she explained her despair. Her husband was perfect in every way save one. Though he was good with children, he didn't want any. The writer had always known this, but now, after a few years of marriage, she couldn't contain her growing resentment of him.

If you stay with your boyfriend, that is your future. In your mind you will shift the blame to him, or you will become "accidentally" pregnant. You will do this not because you are a bad person, but because that is how our minds work when we are thwarted in our basic desires.

If you wait until you and your boyfriend have intertwined your families, finances, emotions, and careers, you will be on the horns of a genuine dilemma. No matter which way you turn, it will feel like being gored. But if you end things with him now, you will be free to find the man who shares your dream of a life filled with children.

Wayne & Tamara

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Two Weeks Ago - Mother And Child

I have always valued my relationship with my mother-in-law. We typically get along well. However, now that I am pregnant, she has become very forceful with "suggestions" regarding the baby and has said some pretty hurtful things. It is getting to the point I do not want to answer the phone because I am tired of arguing about things I do not feel are her decisions to begin with.

She will argue with me about everything from breastfeeding to circumcision to how I decorate the nursery. My husband has been understanding because she acts that way to him all the time. But I don't want to put him in a position where he has to side against his mother.

I feel like saying, "You got to raise your two sons the way you wanted, now please let me raise my children the way I want!" Any advice on how I can nicely tell her to back off without damaging my relationship with her or further involving my husband?

Tisha

Tisha, today the word "nice" means agreeable, but the original meaning of the word "nice" is foolish or stupid. Sometimes in our attempt to be nice we let a veneer of politeness triumph over what is important. That is foolish.

You are carrying a new life. You are the mother bear willing to protect her cub against all comers. Being nice should not outweigh that deeper sense of what you are doing. You don't have to tell off your mother-in-law, but you can treat her opinions like elevator music. They are just background noise.

An election has been held, and you've been voted mommy. You've won. It is your breast and your baby and the final decisions are yours. When we fulfill our legitimate roles in life, we never have to justify ourselves to others. When we sacrifice the roles in life we are entitled to play, we sacrifice our life itself.

Wayne & Tamara

Send letters to: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com