DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a gallery opening two months ago and met a beautiful woman. We spent the entire night talking to each other, and when the evening was over, we exchanged numbers and decided to go on a dinner date.
Since our initial meeting, we have been on eight dates. Everything seemed fine until she told me that she is three months pregnant and that the baby's father is in jail for two years. She is still interested in having a relationship with me, and I don't know what to do. -- On the Fence, Memphis, Tenn.
DEAR ON THE FENCE: This woman is in a tough situation. It's time to get serious.
Sit down and talk to her about her circumstances. Ask if she loves the father of her child and if the two of them have been talking about being a family when he is released from jail. Learn what you can about their relationship before she got pregnant.
You need to be as clear as possible about her intentions before you commit your heart to this budding relationship. If you want to be in a relationship with her, make sure she has the emotional ability to also be committed to you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I enjoy your columns because you always give good advice. However, your advice regarding the person who expected her brother to pay for the "favor" done in helping him find a tailoring job was wrong, in my opinion.
The writer offered to bring her brother the items to be hemmed and to deliver them back to the customer. Now she is angry that she wasn't offered payment for her help. It was her offer in the first place. An offer of help shouldn't come with a hidden price tag, if helping is what you truly are attempting to do.
If someone offered to help me and then afterward expected cash for it, I would be hurt and angry. The writer said she believes she is supportive of her family, but it appears this help comes with a price. -- Not Greedy, Chicago
DEAR NOT GREEDY: I agree with you that the best gift is one that's given freely. In this particular case, the writer was the sibling of a man who had been in deep financial trouble and who had received multiple loans from the sibling. The writer felt like she should have been offered some compensatory pittance, given that she had been overwhelmingly helpful and finally her brother was getting a little money.
I believe she misunderstood her brother's thinking. I doubt he intended to overlook his sister. He was simply trying to take care of himself and dig out of a hole. Repayment of the loans she made is best handled as a separate conversation.