DEAR ABBY: I'm 27 and in a three-year-long relationship that has been slowly falling apart. A year before it began, I ended a two-year union with another guy. While the two men are completely different, both relationships ended for similar reasons.
I am a successful, independent woman. Apparently, this made each one feel like less of a man. While I'm told my qualities are part of the reason I'm attractive, men want to "prove themselves" before they commit to marriage. Things usually fall apart when their career plans shift and they feel like they're starting over. I try to be supportive, but nothing works. They begin resenting me for everything I have accomplished.
I am on a path to achieve everything I can before I scale back to have children and put my family first. I have two master's degrees. I'm working on my license in a traditionally male profession. I'm on the board of directors of several nonprofits. I own my own home. But I'm beginning to be afraid I'll never have the family life I have always wanted. Should I resign myself to the fact that I can't have it all? -- SUCCESSFUL ... ON PAPER, CHARLOTTE, N.C.
DEAR SUCCESSFUL ... ON PAPER: Please don't. And don't give up and lower any of your goals, either. What you need is a man who is more secure within himself than those you have been involved with. The traditional roles of men and women have been turned upside down in the last few years, and the last thing you need is someone who would resent you if he couldn't match or surpass your achievements.
At 27 you are hardly over the hill. Keep your options open until you find someone who appreciates that a husband and wife are a team to which both bring their own strengths and weaknesses, and who will revel along with you when you succeed. As long as a couple is compatible, it doesn't matter who is the larger wage earner. Please don't settle. If you do, consider the message it will send to your daughters.