DEAR HARRIETTE: I received an email from a married woman saying she would pay me $5,000 if I help her have a baby. The woman told me that there would be no strings attached, and I would not be responsible for child support. This request bothered me because I do not see myself as the type of man who takes the money and runs. Turning down a $5,000 offer is tough, but I did it. I am out of work right now and super low on cash, but I just don't think I could handle it. I want to have my own family some day. Do you think I made the right decision? -- Pay for Play, Newark, N.J.
DEAR PAY FOR PLAY: It's good that you followed your heart. You sound like the kind of man who would not be able to father a child and not support it. That is a good thing!
Rather than being angry at the request, you can consider it a compliment. Your friend obviously thinks you are an admirable man who would father a good child. Given that she is married, she is either trying to escape her marriage or attempting to have a child when her husband is unable to get her pregnant. Even if that is the case, that should be addressed by the two of them, not by her on the sly.
DEAR HARRIETTE: You provided some good tips to the wife who was in a marriage where she and her husband bicker a lot. My husband and I had fallen into this pattern and were exhausting each other. What worked for me was timing. I don't talk to my husband a lot when he gets home from work. Also, I try to be kind even when I am mad or annoyed. I know this sounds old-school, but it works. It sounds like the husband is very stressed. The wife should pray for her husband and for patience. If her husband doesn't have a hobby, suggest that he take up golf or something else.
Also, I would suggest that the wife find a hobby or do volunteer work if she doesn't work outside the home. When I was laid off of my part-time job several years ago, that is when the arguments got worse.
I now substitute in the local schools. I also do volunteer work in the community. I have also put my application on file for jobs in the field that I was working in in case a position becomes open.
Stop stressing and relax. Enjoy your life. It isn't meant to be miserable. -- Wise, Syracuse, N.Y.
DEAR WISE: What wonderful advice. By the way, "old-school" doesn't mean bad, at least not in my book. Many people who have been married for a long time have figured out ways to create peace and joy in their marriages. I appreciate learning from people who have lived the experience. Thank you!