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Parallax - Advice            May 1, 2000

   It just keeps getting more complicated!

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Once upon a time girls and boys called each other after homework or dinner, got permissions from their parents, and pranced off to the movies. Then they grew up and now they have kids, careers, ambitions - but still, they refuse to grow old. With their customary severity, Conversely's SHE-HE advice team sets out to sort it all for our three lady correspondents in this week's column.

She's dating a single-dad who's getting serious fast.
Time to sound the alarm, or is she drowning in a pail?
 Date: 05/01/00

Older woman seeks younger man.
Midlife crisis, hopeless cause, or perfectly normal?
 Date: 05/01/00

They have very different educational backgrounds.
Can the relationship outlast their mismatched ambitions?
 Date: 05/01/00

From our archives...

Renaissance man gives up on housework.
Girlfriend refuses to go it solo. Ultimate battle of the sexes?
 Date: 04/24/00

He needs the perfect 'we're just friends now' gift.
- Our expert advice on this momentous mission.
 Date: 04/24/00

Asking the STD 'test question.'
- A dead-end on Passion Street, or the gleaming Avenue of Common Sense?
 Date: 04/24/00

He cheated, lost her, and wants her back.
Can he 'buy' her love, or does he have to earn it?
 Date: 04/17/00

'I just want a fling, that's all...'
The words every woman wants to hear, or - too much brutal honesty?
 Date: 04/17/00

She's only 26, dating and... divorced.
Should she tell, or will it scare them away?
 Date: 04/17/00

Stuck in girlfriend confusion.
Is he really in love with two different women, or suffering from self-delusion?
 Date: 04/17/00

An innocent work-date blows up in his face...
But is there more to his wife's outraged reaction?
 Date: 04/17/00

Woman vs. Girl.
Proper respect vs. crass sexism, or Mature and wily vs. innocent and exciting?
 Date: 04/10/00

Happiness struck when she least expected it.
Does this call for self-flagellation, or is the situation not so dire?
 Date: 04/10/00

Personal ads in cyberspace:
The cure for superficial bar talk! A miracle waiting to happen! Yee-haw!
 Date: 04/10/00

He's very elusive of late, she never sees him.
She thinks he might be cheating. Innocent or guilty?
 Date: 04/10/00

She's close to being borderline obsessed.
Only a crush, or a prime excuse for exquisite drama?
 Date: 04/10/00

Boyfriend is a born-again liar.
Should she take the highroad or hunker down and help him out?
 Date: 04/03/00

Dream-lady's cat throws him into asthma fits.
Simple case of allergy medication, or woman-cat-man love triangle?
 Date: 04/03/00

Is there a simple rule about which color rose for what occasion?
Or is a rose is a rose is a rose?
 Date: 04/03/00

He keeps calling and calling, he just doesn't get it...
Should she let him down easy or yank out the plug?
 Date: 04/03/00

Correspondent questions the social value of 'significant other.'
Anarchist, revisionist, or clueless?
 Date: 04/03/00

She's dating a single-dad who's getting serious fast

Dear Conversely,

Email to a Friend I've been dating this man for about a month and I really like him. I didn't expect it to be a major relationship but it's trending that way. The only problem is that he has a child - a two-year-old girl. I didn't really worry about this at first because I thought we were just having a fling. But now things have become more serious - especially for him. He's already talking as if we'll be together for a long time - booking long-term social events, etc. I'm not sure how I feel yet and I certainly wasn't up for the children thing so fast. I feel like I should tell him to slow down. But I also really like him so I don't want to end the relationship. What do you think?

Her view:

Dear Paranoid,

I think it is a pretty big deal. Even though it's an early relationship, you really need to consider whether or not you are willing to take on a child.

Continuing without careful thought may be unfair to his daughter, as I imagine you probably see a lot of her. Involving children layers in a whole new level of commitment. She may be used to you hanging around, and then if you leave she may feel a sense of abandonment.

You should try to accelerate your decision process and determine how much you care for this guy. Do you love him? This will factor into your ultimate decision. It wouldn't hurt to talk with him about this topic - he may be able to provide some insight and help you move through the decision.

If you do decide the kid is something you can't handle, then you should probably back out soon.

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His view:

Dear Paranoid,

Give this man a little credit, please. Just because he has a daughter doesn't mean he's trying to snare a new wife or place your one-month 'relationship' on the fast-track.

Maybe he's a planner - likes to schedule his social calendar months in advance. The fact that he penciled you in as the 'escort' probably doesn't make you any less interchangeable in his mind - should the circumstances require it.

I think you are pressuring yourself unduly because you are unaccustomed to dealing with the single-parent-plus-dating combo. This guy may be trying to balance his family life with his desire to meet new members of the opposite sex. A part of him works to develop the 'more stable' environment that he associates with 'family'... while another part of him labors to get laid.

Not that you are solely an object of desire - but do you really think he only sees you as a future wife and no more? If you can't deal with the pressure, perhaps the slow-down speech is in order. Though really, I think you're making up most of it yourself.

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