I am a 25-year-old mother of one and currently pregnant by a young man I was acquainted with in high school. He has not called or spoken with me about the baby or our plans in weeks. I thought that he loved me, but I found out differently after I revealed that we were expecting. His excuse is that he realized he's not ready for a relationship or a child. I still love him and want him to step up to the plate. What should I do, and how should I do it?
—Foolish, I Fear
Well ... ready or not, the stork is on his way. You need to tell the father-to-be that while he may not feel "ready" for a relationship or a child, he needs to get ready to send a monthly support check—his legal obligation. Given what you've written, Prudie has doubts about this chap stepping up to the plate, so accept the fact that he got to first base but he's out at home. If it's any consolation, lassoing him into the domestic thing would not make him the loving and supportive spouse you desire. Reluctant husbands make lousy mates. Prudie believes you can achieve a happy life for yourself and your children, however, and because you are young, the possibilities of a future love life are quite good.
I am soon headed to graduate school and will be moving into the same neighborhood that my ex-boyfriend is moving to. He works at the university I will attend. We parted six years ago on friendly terms and have mentioned living together as roommates out of ease and comfort. My current (very serious and committed) beau has no concerns about this, but I was wondering if it would be inappropriate to share a two-bedroom apartment with an ex-boyfriend. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
—Not Wanting To Cause Trouble
The deciding factor should be a determination that there is not a shred of attraction left—for you or Mr. Ex. If you can both meet this requirement, then Prudie thinks it's rather charming to room with this old friend. Your beau, by the way, sounds very mature to be so devoid of jealousy. And since you are new to the university, if you do make this living arrangement, it would be a good idea not to announce to all and sundry that the roomie used to be the boyfriend.
I don't think you can help me fix my problem, but maybe you can help me understand. I am in the fledgling stage of a promising new relationship. Both of us are divorced and in our 40s. The problem is that I recently learned my new flame believes physical relationships must be reserved for marriage. I am no biblical scholar, but I did receive six years of religious training as a boy and recently reread the Gospel. Adultery is clearly prohibited in both the Old and New Testaments, but what is the Christian basis for prohibiting all forms of sex outside of marriage? I just don't see it. I think sex is fundamental to emotional and physical well-being. Since I have deep reservations about ever getting married again anyway, I fear this relationship may be doomed. What do you know about this, if anything?
A man of the cloth (one who is allowed to marry, by the way) tells Prudie that your lady friend's wish to put principle before pleasure is admirable, but she should be careful about using the Bible as a guidebook for sexuality. It seems that our biblical ancestors were not nearly as obsessed with sex as we are. Jesus, as well as those in Hebrew Scripture, was much more concerned about building long-term, caring, committed relationships. Sex before marriage with that one wonderful person may help in the building. It is Prudie's understanding that the Bible prohibits sex with animals and those of the same gender. Today, thoughtful people now accept same-sex pairings, so the only remaining prohibition is with animals. This would have nothing to do with your lady friend. There's a possibility that this woman is one of the frigerati and is hiding behind the Good Book. This is what you will have to determine. Her no-sex-until-marriage rule, by the way, would be supportable if she had never been married and was a virgin.
I enjoy talking about books. Every month I meet with a group of women (no book group I've been a member of has ever included men, though welcome they would be) who like books but, for the most part, have no other common interests and don't socialize away from the group. Here's my problem: At one meeting where there was great hilarity over the perceived flaws of a book that the group had read and that I'd suggested, one particular woman got rather nasty and suggested that she, at least, had higher standards. The book? Ahab's Wife (not Melville, but not Danielle Steele, either). This woman, I think, implied that the book was no worthier than a tome tossed off by Steele. Since then, I've been obsessed with a desire to strike back. What's the healthiest, most productive way to react to "dissing" like this?
Dear Dis, Prudie thinks an effective way to settle this woman's hash would be to suggest, next time it's your turn, by James Carroll. One's brow can't get much higher than that. Prudie predicts that, after slogging through this demanding book, the intellectually pretentious disser will long for Ms. Steele and a ripped bodice or two.