DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I are planning to take our relationship to the next level and have a child. I'm interested in the idea of co-parenting.
I think my boyfriend is planning to propose to me while we are on vacation. This may sound strange, but I'm not interested in marrying this man, though I would love to have his child. Do you think I'm crazy for thinking that way? -- Carriage Before Marriage, Salt Lake City
DEAR CARRIAGE BEFORE MARRIAGE: I'm curious why you don't want to marry this man but you do want to have his child. A number of women have told me that they asked a male friend to donate sperm so they could have a baby, even as they made it clear they did not want a relationship. This may be a growing trend for those who want to have children, even if they are uncoupled. Given that the number of single women continues to rise, this may become a new norm.
In your case, this is your boyfriend, so I'm wondering why you are reluctant to commit to him. Are you afraid of commitment? Is it something about him? Are you worried that a marriage to him won't last? Do yourself a favor and figure that out before you get pregnant.
First, though, you need to deal with the proposal. If you tell your boyfriend you don't want to get married, he will want to know why. If you then tell him you want to have a baby with him, you will need to explain your thinking.
Envision your life five years down the line, co-parenting a child with your boyfriend. Be prepared to describe what that life looks like. If your visions can match, perhaps it's worth a try.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Before I met my husband, I had a lot of male friends in my life, and I enjoyed my friendships with them. I made sure that my husband met my male friends for the sake of putting faces with the names.
Most of my male friends know where they stand in regard to my relationship with my husband. However, I have one male friend who doesn't know where he stands. This friend calls me at least three times a day; he even called me at 7:30 a.m. just to see how I was doing. I was having breakfast with my husband, and my husband looked at me like I was crazy.
I do not want any problems in my home. I cherish the friendship, but this guy is really starting to become a pain. How do I tell my friend to take it easy with the calls? -- Friend to the End, Memphis, Tenn.
DEAR FRIEND TO THE END: Which do you value more -- your marriage or this friend? If you want a healthy marriage, this particular friendship has to end. Clearly, this man is unwilling to accept that your marriage is primary in your life. Don't let him ruin your future.