DEAR HARRIETTE: I honestly feel that I have been bending over backward to make my partner happy, but they haven’t done the same for me. I realize that I am constantly asking them what they want from our relationship, but they never reciprocate. Should I be worried that my partner has not asked me what I want out of the relationship? There are so many things that I want, but I never even get the chance to mention them. — Ask Me
DEAR ASK ME: The mistake you are making is waiting to be asked. You are either the more verbal person in the relationship or the more interested. Let’s assume more verbal for a moment. If you have the ability to get your partner to open up and share what they want, that’s great. But that cannot be the end of the conversation. Rather than waiting for them to ask, start telling them stories about yourself and the things you care about. Do not lash out at your partner and complain because they don’t ask you. That will only start an argument and put you on opposite sides of the fence.
Be kind and descriptive. Illustrate your desires to your partner clearly and emphatically so that you leave no question about it. If you like something, let them know it. You can also directly ask for what you want. Go for it. If you don’t, you can be mad later that you aren’t getting what you believe you deserve.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am strongly considering having a baby without a partner. I don’t want to wait for anybody to give me what I want in this life. My family is constantly expressing the challenges that can arise when someone is raising a child as a single parent, but nobody is telling me about how rewarding it can be. I am not rich, but my biological clock is ticking, and I do not want to risk being unable to have a child in the future. I want to have one now. Is it a bad idea to have a child without a partner? — Single Parent
DEAR SINGLE PARENT: You will not be the first or the last person to be a single parent. Is it hard? Sure. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. What you need is a plan. Do not think of yourself as an island. You need to assemble your community — your village — of people who agree to have your back as you bring a child into this world. These can be parents, siblings, cousins, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Identify the people you trust who can and want to be there for your child. By the way, they don’t all have to be available now. One person may be perfect when your child is an infant while others may be great when it’s time to look for a job. Everyone can have a role. You just have to plan it out and talk to people to enlist their support. Then remind them as you get closer to the time when you’ll need them.
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