Life Advice



Single File: Free-Range Partner

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: The man in my life wants to marry and make our love legal. But he has one demand he says will make or break the deal. He needs to be able to go off once in a while and have time to himself, without me, without the children we may have at the time. He says he's used to having time to himself, away from responsibilities, and he wants to continue that way. The trouble is we love each other.

DEAR BLOGGER: The real trouble isn't the love you share with the man in your life. It's that pesky sense of ownership that much too often comes with marriage vows. One or both of the partners -- more likely the female side of the equation -- begins to lean heavily on the other, jealously shrinking his or her contact with the world beyond their love nest. That tightening, meant to keep the partner from roaming beyond "acceptable" limits, can have the opposite effect, prodding a spouse to chew off their leash -- while still married -- and explore variations of anonymous sex with nameless and faceless bodies. Well, dear blogger, there it is: the unspoken credo of marriages that mistake smothering (aka 24-hour togetherness) for true love. It seems to this columnist that the freshness of a beloved's comings and goings not only makes coupled life much more interesting but gives love the best chance of surviving. Anyone out there in Readerland care to comment?

DEAR SUSAN: Your reader Mike H. might want to know that, to yours truly, the main difference between one- and two- parent homes is exposure to two viewpoints. I don't believe it's a gender thing; just having two people with different attitudes and approaches can be beneficial. That being said, I'm a financially stable woman in my early 30s, starting to seriously consider single parenthood. I have a supportive family, good stable friends and a lot of thinking and research ahead of me. (I just realized I used the word "stable" twice in two sentences!)

DEAR BLOGGER: Agreed, stability is key in any home, whatever its gender configuration. And, yes, there is much thinking and research for you to do before reaching a conclusion. (To me, thinking IS research, probably the best source of all because it accesses innermost needs and desires.) There are many women considering single motherhood, and because all of you are breaking new ground, the learning curve is steep. Please go about your research slowly and deliberately, considering all angles of your future with -- and without -- single motherhood. You need to ask yourself why you're considering this option in your early 30s, what life changes you're prepared to make as a mother and what support is in place to help you. I suggest making this a group think, airing all sorts of comments and listening with every fiber of your being. This could be the most significant decision of your life. Take your time in research mode.



We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at




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