Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: Last Sunday, a woman at my church asked me if we could speak privately. I agreed. She told me she thinks I'm nice and a good man. I was flattered. She is an attractive, single woman around my age, so I thought this might be going somewhere. That's when she dropped the bomb: Because she thinks I am a great guy, she wants me to donate sperm to her so she can have a baby. She is in her late 30s, hasn't met the right guy yet and really wants to have a baby. She assured me that she does not want a relationship or anything. She would even pay for the sperm, if need be. Mainly, she wants a baby and thinks I would be a good donor. I was so offended. I would love to be a husband and father -- not a donor. I was so shocked I didn't say anything, and I need to respond. What do I say? -- Against the Grain, New Rochelle, N.Y.

DEAR AGAINST THE GRAIN: Follow up with her in person. Thank her for her kind comments about you. Tell her that you, too, would love to have a child, but that you are interested in a relationship, a wife and a child. You have no interest in being a donor. So, no thank you.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents have purposely found me a blind date even though they know I have a girlfriend. They hate my girlfriend, and it really bothers me. Every chance they get, they find some way to make a snide comment or correct her. It drives me crazy. Now my mom tells me that she wants to set me up on blind date with a girl I don't even know, and I think that's really disrespectful toward me and my girlfriend. What should I do to get my parents out of my love life? -- Fed Up, Philadelphia

DEAR FED UP: Have a heart-to-heart with your parents, and ask them why they do not like your girlfriend. Press them about their feelings and ask them to substantiate their reasons. Listen closely as they talk to see if they have any valid points that they are expressing. If you hear anything that you agree with, acknowledge as much and talk about it. If you disagree with their assessment, tell them that you respect them but do not agree with their opinions.

Remind them that you love them and know that they want the best for you and that you have to make your own decisions. Be clear that you are not interested in going on a blind date. Ask them to stop chastising your girlfriend. Express your belief that being snide is unkind and disrespectful to her. Ask your parents to give you space to explore your relationship and make your own mistakes. Ask for them to exercise loving distance, at least for now.