Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Readers Sound Off

Cheryl Lavin on

Today, we hear from Jennifer, Andrea and Emma, who offer advice on birth control, co-dependency and living together. Do you agree?

JENNIFER: People who think birth control is always reliable need to be better informed. Every single one has a failure rate. I personally know two women who had children after a tubal ligation. One of them had twins. I also know a woman who got pregnant twice while she was taking oral contraceptives and never missed one. And I know a woman who had a baby after her husband had a vasectomy. After that baby, he went back for a repeat vasectomy, and she had a tubal ligation.

According to the CDC, about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Is that because people are stupid? I don't think so. I think it's because Mother Nature is tricky. Studies show that a woman's libido is strongest during her most fertile period, and men are most attracted to women when they're the most fertile. So when do you think people are most likely to get sloppy with birth control?

And why do some men think women are the ones who should be responsible for birth control? If a man knows he absolutely doesn't want children, he should have a vasectomy and use a condom.

ANDREA: I've spent the better part of my adult life in co-dependent relationships. I've spent years in therapy. But co-dependency, like any addiction, is a tough one to break. No one is ever cured of an addiction. The key is understanding why it occurs and then making the conscious decision to change the patterns in order to break the cycle. Even then, it's still easy to slip back into old patterns.

I seem to have become a magnet for women who are wallowing in the same sorts of relationships and dealing with the same issues that I've worked so hard to get out of and stay out of. I've become the shoulder to cry on, the person to rant to. My hard-earned advice and example doesn't seem to sink in. Even though it's not my drama, it's wearing me out. I'm not made of stone.


One by one, I've had to disassociate myself from friends whom I've allowed to do this to me. One of the musts of an addiction program is shedding your partners in crime who enable your addictions. I realize that I've been enabling.

EMMA: Never live with your significant other if you want to marry him. Living together leads to marriage only some of the time. Other times it's the old "Why buy the cow when the milk is free?" And the milk is not just sex. It's also housecleaning; shopping; bill paying; secretarial services; child care, if there are children; and a thousand other things that a man gets from a woman without the responsibilities of marriage.

If a man knows he can get up and leave any time he wants to, he won't try very hard to please his live-in lover. His threat of not marrying her, implied or otherwise, with the consequent issue of no financial security for her after his death or departure, will hang forever over her head like the sword of Damocles.


What hard-earned advice would you like to pass on? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."



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