The following are excerpts from winter 2001 live discussions on


I'm in my mid-twenties, single. Never had a long-term relationship. I'm stuck on someone I'll never have. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I'm a professional, but bored bored bored. No one I'm attracted to is attracted to me. (Did I mention my rampant insomnia?)

I know you can't do anything about the work issue (I'm working on that), but could you just finally, definitively confirm that it is very possible for someone to go through life entirely alone? Everyone says, "Oh, that's exactly how you need to feel -- that's when I met my current snugglebunny." But I don't WANT to keep holding out hope that may prove meaningless in the long run. I'm not sure I even LIKE most of the relationships I see in my family and friends. They seem to think being with anyone is better than being alone. I think being alone is better than being alone with someone. I also feel like women strive for the whole marriage thing just to fit into some societal norm.

Whatever. I'm not sure if I'm convincing myself so I'll feel better about being lonely forever, or if I genuinely believe it, therefore I am alone. In any case, I'm lonely.

Could you just tell me that (a) there are some people who are meant to be alone forever, and (b) they live happy and productive lives because/in spite of this?

-- Delaware

Put the caffeine down, and back away slowly.

I agree with so much of what you wrote. Yes, too many people get married more for the institution than for the person they marry; yes, I'd so much rather be alone than sharing a home with ickyness; yes, being told it will happen "someday" "when you least expect it" "etc." is unbearably patronizing. I also think it's possible to carve out a damn fine life by oneself.

But I don't think you can have a damn fine life lonely. It's going to take a while, but you need to address the bored bored bored thing. What do you want out of life? What gives you pleasure? What traits of yours make you proud? What are you good at? I'd get off the whole guy topic and start answering these questions. Doing so will ultimately put you in a better frame of mind surrounded by a more compatible set of people. The description of happiness isn't much different from that.


I need help. I am currently dating a man who has a 5-year-old daughter. We have been dating for approximately eight months and he still has not introduced me to her. He says he cares for me, but does not introduce his daughter to any woman he dates until he is "sure" the relationship will last. I feel like I have been in his life long enough for him to be sure about me and our relationship. How long should I stay in the shadows before I move on?

-- Virginia

Respect his decision. The kid is the correct priority, and no 5-year-old needs to keep getting attached to people who eventually go. Sounds to me like he's being a great dad.

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