Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “Do You Have a Non-Traditional Relationship?”

This LW requested feedback specifically from readers, so I hope you can help her out.

Love 2

I have been sleeping with a certain man for going on five years now. During that time we have each gone through major life changes. I became a mom (to another man’s son) and he became re-employed after a rather debilitating lay-off. His priorities are on work and making up for lost time while mine are on raising my son and developing my career. We respect each other and treasure the time we are able to spend together, which is spent watching sports or in bed, our two favorite pastimes.

I’m writing because I adore and respect this man and am mostly happy with the way things are between us. (“Mostly,” because I wish we had more time for each other). However, those who love me most want “more” for me. What others project on me, I think, is a traditional partner who will be all things to me. What I want, however, is what I, incredibly, have – the sustainability of having free, creative, out-of-bounds sex with the most beautiful man I’ve ever met and the only one to whom I’m attracted.

So, I’m curious to hear if any of your readers have stories to share about non-traditional paths to love, especially those that span many years and many phases of life. (I’m not interested in hearing about what a single mother “should” be doing with her free time, heaven forbid she have any). — About to turn 34

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

93 comments… add one
  • avatar

    SasLinna June 2, 2014, 1:02 pm

    Maybe I’m off base, but I feel like this LW has written in before with a slightly different version of this story?

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    • avatar

      SasLinna June 2, 2014, 2:23 pm

      To clarify, I’m not calling out the LW or saying there’s something fishy about her story. I just feel like I’ve read something very similar here before, but without the “non-traditional relationship” angle. If anyone else has a déjà-vu with this one, let me know!

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ June 2, 2014, 2:35 pm

        I think in a MUCH different context, some of these elements are present in a lot of the MOA-type letters we get from LWs who are pushing for commitment from a man who isn’t interested or available. (i.e., “I’ve been with X for so many years, he’s good to me and to my son, and I love him and want to get married and have more children with him and he keeps saying ‘someday’ but he never seems really interested and he’s more focused on his work and getting stable and ahead and every time I bring it up there’s always another excuse and how can I make him commit to marriage ?”) Clearly, this isn’t that situation at all, though. If everybody’s happy with the status quo, then everybody should retain the status quo and continue to be happy!

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 2, 2014, 2:41 pm

        Oh, I totally agree with that. I’m all for untraditional arrangements if they make people happy. (But, I gotta say, I’m not getting “100% happy” from this LW’s description of things).
        The letter it reminded me of was this one:
        http://dearwendy.com/what-can-i-do-to-make-him-love-me/

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      • LlamaPajamas

        LlamaPajamas June 2, 2014, 2:50 pm

        Wow, good memory. They are rather similar.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 2, 2014, 2:52 pm

        Actually I’m almost willing to bet it’s her. There are a lot of parallels between those two letters. (Sorry I feel like a jerk about this but this is playing with my detective instincts).

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl June 2, 2014, 3:12 pm

        Well, in the other letter she says she is 38, and this letter is signed “about to turn 34” so unless she’s getting younger…

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      • lemongrass

        lemongrass June 2, 2014, 3:15 pm

        She says he is 38, not her.

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      • avatar

        Christy June 2, 2014, 3:16 pm

        The other letter says *he* is 38.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 3:17 pm

        If this is the same person on the other letter, I hope she’s not just convincing herself that she’s ok with this when she wasn’t last time.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster June 2, 2014, 7:41 pm

        There are so many similarities that I have trouble thinking it’s not the same LW. I hope she’s being honest with herself as well.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl June 2, 2014, 3:18 pm

        Good catch guys. haha. I still don’t think they are the same person though. The other lady seems so…desperate? And this lady seems happy with where she is in life.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie June 2, 2014, 8:16 pm

        I think it may be the same person, too. The details are very similar as is the writing style.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy June 2, 2014, 9:00 pm

      Well, now that plenty of comments have been left, I can confirm that it is the same LW.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle June 2, 2014, 9:11 pm

        Interesting. I’m late commenting to this, but I’ve been following so I just want to echo others in saying that I hope she’s not deluding herself. I think she needs to be very honest with herself. I would assume she is at least TRYING NOT TO delude herself, in hearing others’ stories about their own non-traditional relationships in order to see if those stories resonate with her?
        .
        I think it’s totally possible that enough time has passed that she’s re-framing this relationship in her mind. I read a bit of what csp wrote below, & I agree that many people—no matter how wrong it is for ~them~ —assume their life will follow the relationship->marriage->kids->job->retire path, & maybe this particular LW has only JUST realized that’s NOT the only path there is, & so is attempting to see if other paths work for her? Before, she was viewing her time with this man as a hallway leading to the kind of life where he declares his love & wants to marry her, etc.? & now (before she lets him go, if she is considering that) she’s wondering if there’s a middle ground of non-traditional love where this relationship can exist? I mean for many people, the idea of a non-traditional relationship is super new. So I get it if she’s re-framing, or trying to re-frame, things from one letter to the next. This is a good crowd to source opinions from on that kind of thing.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie June 2, 2014, 11:09 pm

        Can it be completely re-framed in 6 months though?

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 3, 2014, 3:26 am

        I’ll start this by saying that I completely approve of non-traditional relationships. What sometimes happens though (just throwing this out as a possibility for LW, not saying it must be the case for her) is that the label “non-traditional” becomes a way to ignore one’s boundaries. The acceptance of non-traditional relationships as a legitimate possibility of course does not mean that every non-traditional constellation is also a good one for the people involved, and I think that it can become very hard to see that once you’re in the situation. The conclusion that it isn’t working can start to feel like a failure in being non-traditional, on top of the traditional heart-break.

        I’ll add that LW’s situation seems not just non-traditional, but very much on the casual side of things. If I understand correctly, they are not just not exclusive, but there’s also no commitment for the future, and she has very little input into his schedule (see the complaint about not being able to see each other often enough). This casual-ness sort of contrasts with the intensity of emotion that LW clearly has for this guy (he’s the ONLY one she’s attracted to). I think that over the long term, it would be hard to love someone so much, and to have so little commitment.

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      • Nookie

        Nookie June 3, 2014, 4:45 am

        Absolutely!

        My first thought reading this was ‘LW, are you really happy with this arrangement? Be truthful with yourself, and really examine if that happiness is enough for you?’ Because if she has reframed it and is more content with the way things are, who cares what anyone else thinks?

        But the fact that you ask the question LW, can be non-traditional relationships be enough, makes me wonder if you really are… people who have what they need rarely feel the need to question it, I think?

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 3, 2014, 8:53 am

        I guess I’m just not really seeing her motivation for agreeing to this arrangement. So they are very busy in their lives, but this doesn’t normally preclude a more committed relationship. And she mentions the freedom of it, which would be a good reason, but then she says she doesn’t want to date anyone else & she mentions wanting to hear from people who have been in non-traditional relationships for long periods of time, implying that she’s in it for the long term. So what I’m ultimately getting is that she’s doing this because that’s what she can get from this guy.

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      • avatar

        ktfran June 3, 2014, 9:09 am

        Alright. I concede. Knowing that this letter is the from the same person as the previous letter, I’m 100% with you. If she is happy with this situation, good for her and say who cares what others say or tell you. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think you’re right, SAS in that she’s trying to convince herself that she is happy with this relationship right now. I hope I’m wrong, but….

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      • Nookie

        Nookie June 3, 2014, 9:19 am

        Yeah, because of ??? (I don’t know actually) I really hope that Fabelle is right and the lady has come to terms with her relationship with him and is happy with what they have.

        But the fact that she’s questioning it, and the comment about not enough time together, makes me think maybe that’s not the case.

        But to answer the question, for sure you can have non-traditional relationships last a long time! But that is only if both partners are happy with it. Fingers crossed they are!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray June 3, 2014, 5:52 am

        Sas, kudos for remembering the first letter! And good points, here.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 3, 2014, 9:07 am

        Thanks, I’m glad you don’t think I’m a total creep for remembering it. I’ve probably gone a little overboard with my DWing.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ June 3, 2014, 9:52 am

        Good eye, Sas!! While this doesn’t change my advice to people happy in non-traditional relationships, it does shade my answer to this LW. Because this LW hasn’t evaluated all of her options, been happy with this arrangement the entire time and is just annoyed by everyone trying to foist their versions of what she “should” want onto her like she insinuated in her letter. This LW just six months ago was incredibly eager to get a traditional commitment from this man, who has made it clear he has no desire to commit to her. And a lot of the advice she got was to MOA. Or set a timetable and MOA. She didn’t get a commitment, and she didn’t MOA. So, maybe she’s happy with the arrangement now. I can’t say. But, I have concerns, particularly since her last letter was about “making him love her” and her current letter is about “different paths to love.” Because, no. This isn’t a rom com and he isn’t going to change.
        .
        In any event, LW, your family and friends who have been there with you through this aren’t trying to force their view of what you should want onto you. They’ve heard you repeatedly say you want “more,” seen him be unwilling to be that “more” for you and are trying to convince you to let him go so you can find someone who will give you the life you said you wanted. If you have made complete and total peace with your situation and you truly never want marriage or a traditional committed relationship, you need to explain that to the people who love you. They don’t want to see you settle and that is why they’re worried about you. But if you’re not 100% sure that you’re 100% okay with this, then take advantage of the freedom your current non-traditional relationship gives you and start dating other men. You might find one that wants to be with you as much as you want to be with him.

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  • dizziej

    Jennifer June 2, 2014, 1:08 pm

    You cannot please all of the people all of the time. I say please yourself. If you are happy with the status quo and are not wanting for anything more, then who cares what everyone else says? Your relationship or lack there of is no one’s business but yours. What you need to do is find a polite way of telling “those who love me most” to but out and mind their own business. It is your life to live as you please and as long as you are taking amazing care of your son (which I’m sure you are) live it the way you want to.

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl June 2, 2014, 1:16 pm

    What a single mom should do is take care of her child and herself, and it sounds like you’re doing just that!
    .
    I personally think this is a fabulous arrangement and you should keep it up until it’s not making you happy anymore, if that ever happens.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 1:23 pm

      wGGs! You have exactly what you want. Lucky you! I we all lived our lives the way others wanted, oh man, that would suck.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary June 2, 2014, 1:25 pm

      WGGS. I’m not in a non-traditional relationship, but I’m wholly supportive of your choice to live your life the way you see fit.

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      • avatar

        bethany June 2, 2014, 1:53 pm

        What’s non-traditional about your relationship?? This is news to me.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary June 2, 2014, 2:00 pm

        Sorry, I said I’m NOT in a non-traditional relationship. Should’ve just said I’m in a traditional relationship.

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      • avatar

        bethany June 2, 2014, 2:05 pm

        I need to learn how to read. I thought you were a secret polygamist or something! 🙂

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  • LlamaPajamas

    LlamaPajamas June 2, 2014, 1:24 pm

    I have a pretty traditional relationship because that’s what works for me right now, and your relationship sounds like it’s exactly what you need right now. Good for you! I wouldn’t worry about what anyone but your son thinks.

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  • lemongrass

    lemongrass June 2, 2014, 1:24 pm

    As long as it is between consenting adults who aren’t cheating on anyone else, fuck what everyone else thinks.

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  • katie

    katie June 2, 2014, 1:27 pm

    people will basically always project a traditional life (whatever “traditional” is in the context of the people projecting) on people they love. like i think that is something you could safely always bet money on.
    .
    if i were you, i would just focus on showing people how happy you are. happiness trumps tradition always, so when people say those things, just find a way to state that you are happy. my relationship is only non-traditional because we arent married, and when people ask me things like “dont you want to get married?” ect, i just tell them how i am happy now, and that is what matters to me.
    .
    maybe just adopt that- “happiness now matters”. i kind of like it.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 1:39 pm

      YES!

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  • avatar

    csp June 2, 2014, 1:45 pm

    Ok, I do agree with everyone here with two thoughts:
    1.) this situation is fine as long as you are choosing it and not settling for it.
    2.) Are you ok with having just one child. If you are almost 34, time is ticking for kids. Fertility time is limited and if you want a traditional family, don’t think that you still have plenty of time for that.

    Ultimately, everyone realizes that the “Tradition” will fail them and life doesn’t look the way we thought it would. Build the life you want, whatever that might look like.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 1:48 pm

      Haha. “if you want a traditional family…”
      Isn’t the whole point of this about the LW not wanting to be told to consider traditional families/life?

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      • avatar

        csp June 2, 2014, 3:23 pm

        So, the question is if she is speaking about “right now” or “forever”. She didn’t mention wanting more kids or having someone eventually to grow old with. I am just saying if she wants more kids with a partner, her time isn’t unlimited.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 3:36 pm

        Right, she didn’t mention wanting more kids.
        All she really mentioned was how annoying it is that even though she states she’s perfectly happy as is, other people inject why she shouldn’t be or that she should want more. So why, after her saying that, would you have this suggestion/advice? Why, when she rants about how she is happy living an un-traditional life, would you think ‘gee, I’m going to remind her that she might want more kids because…everyone wants more kids because traditionally, all women want are more kids?’
        Idk, just a weird thing to say to this LW if you ask me.

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      • avatar

        csp June 2, 2014, 3:54 pm

        That is fair. I guess I was saying, if those two things are true, then it is fine. But everyone who cares about her, might be seeing that same timeline. It is a hard transition when you have “plenty of time” to “that ship will sail.” I felt like her letter didn’t give time frames and she just didn’t like the pressure. The fact is, the pressure is there solely because fertility is finite. If that is taken out of the equation, then she needs to reframe the whole discussion for everyone around her.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 2, 2014, 3:57 pm

        Why are you being so pushy about this? The only time child(ren) are mentioned is her having a child. Obviously she knows how the mechanics works. She didn’t ask for any advice relating to children whatsoever! Clearly, she’s got that covered.

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      • katie

        katie June 2, 2014, 4:04 pm

        yea she doesnt like the pressure of people telling her what she should be thinking about, feeling, and prioritizing in her life despite her being just fine with the way that her life is. its weird how that works.

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    • lemongrass

      lemongrass June 2, 2014, 1:52 pm

      How will the “tradition” fail everybody? Sure, nuclear families are becoming less common but I have one and while I can’t foresee the future, I have a hard time believing that it will fail me.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 2:02 pm

        Seeing as how the divorce rate in US and Canada is 100%, I think you better start preparing for failure.

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      • lemongrass

        lemongrass June 2, 2014, 2:33 pm

        If the divorce rate was 100%, would divorce then be seen as succeeding? Ugh. I hate referring to divorce as failing anyhow. Sometimes divorce IS succeeding without the statistics.

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      • avatar

        Simonthegrey June 2, 2014, 3:27 pm

        If the divorce rate were 100%, every marriage would end in divorce…many don’t. Unless you are adding the rate for the US and Canada together…?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 3:38 pm

        Really no one saw the sarcasm in that one? 🙁
        I thought it was well known that its close to 50/50. Obviously if it were 100% all marriages would end in divorce. You had to have assumed I knew that wasn’t true or you think I’m super dumb, which is very possible 🙂

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      • LlamaPajamas

        LlamaPajamas June 2, 2014, 3:40 pm

        I got the sarcasm! And I’m not just saying that because I want to be your favorite.

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      • avatar

        Monika June 2, 2014, 3:36 pm

        100% eh? I’m curious how you invented that statistic? Or are you just completely anti-marriage?

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      • avatar

        csp June 2, 2014, 3:55 pm

        it was clearly a joke

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 2, 2014, 3:38 pm

        Wow it’s like no one gets sarcasm.

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      • lemongrass

        lemongrass June 2, 2014, 3:40 pm

        This.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 3:40 pm

        100% of people don’t get sarcasm.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow June 2, 2014, 3:55 pm

        NO I DO GET IT YOU SAY THAT BECAUSE YOU HATE ME

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 3:59 pm

        I only hate 100% of you, rainbow. There’s still room left for me to love you.

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      • avatar

        rachel June 2, 2014, 4:04 pm

        Oh, see, we thought it was sarcasm, and it turns out lbh is just really bad at math :p

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 4:08 pm

        haha 🙂

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      • avatar

        csp June 2, 2014, 3:21 pm

        IT isn’t about family or divorce or anything like that specifically. But there is a story that we are all sold as the norm and in some way, that story will fail us. The story is normally as follows, you meet someone, fall in love, get married, have 2.3 healthy kids, move into a home, get steadily promoted in your job, have your kids grow up and have the same story, retire to a small home and dote on your grandkids, then die before your kids do at an old age. That is the story. And somewhere along the way, you will say “This is not the way it is supposed to happen.” and that point is where the tradition fails you.

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      • lemongrass

        lemongrass June 2, 2014, 3:43 pm

        I don’t think that does fail everyone though. I think there are lots of people whose lives follow that timeline. Not everyone wants that life and sometimes it doesn’t work out for everyone who wants it but I don’t think that it doesn’t work out for everyone. My grandparents, my parents lives have been like that and barring any unforeseen circumstances my life will be like that.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 3:44 pm

        It makes me sad to think you believe people think this way, and sad that some people may live this way.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl June 2, 2014, 4:02 pm

        But that’ your “normal” and “traditional”…it’s not everyones. And plenty of people love when “tradition fails” them. I know my life didn’t follow the model I had in my head for a “traditional life” but I think it’s a lot better actually.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 2, 2014, 4:04 pm

        Same here! If I knew how my life would go, waiting for it to reach certain points would have been even worse! The excitement would have been too much to handle!

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      • avatar

        csp June 2, 2014, 4:08 pm

        I wasn’t meaning to say it was always bad just that it always did.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 4:11 pm

        Ok, but it doesn’t always.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 4:14 pm

        Are you feeling down about something and that’s why you say it always fails?

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl June 2, 2014, 4:12 pm

        Well, I disagree that it always fails too. There are plenty of examples of individuals who followed their traditional path, or heck even your traditional path with out any bumps in the road.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ June 2, 2014, 4:23 pm

        And, even if you don’t follow the “traditional” path, I wouldn’t necessarily call that a “failure.” Your life is what you make of it and if you’re happy, regardless of whether you check off all of the boxes that “everyone” seems to expect, then I’d say that’s a success. Marriage, 2.3 kids, a house, retirement, a smaller house, grandchildren…they’re just ideas we get of what we “should” have or what we “should” want. (And, I can’t think of a better way to say it than this so everyone please understand I’m not bashing or minimizing any of those things. At all.) But if they don’t happen for you, or you choose another path, or you get divorced or don’t have kids or get laid off or don’t have grandkids…none of that is “failure.” It’s just…a different path than the one you thought you would take. No one should let checking off the boxes define their happiness. Be happy where you are.

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      • avatar

        bethany June 2, 2014, 4:19 pm

        True that. Maybe statistically “Normal” is 2.5 kids and a family with 2 heterosexual parents, but if we’re talking about that whole ‘vision of the future’ that most of us thought about when we were kids, I’m pretty sure that there isn’t a norm that everyone thought of. People are different. They grow up experiencing different things, and they want different things. And that’s ok.

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    • avatar

      rachel June 2, 2014, 2:18 pm

      Um…
      1. She SAID that she is choosing it and is happy with it.
      2. I’m pretty sure this is the exact kind of statement that the LW is tired of hearing.

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      • avatar

        csp June 2, 2014, 3:38 pm

        2.) She might be tired of hearing it but it doesn’t make it untrue. There is a point in your 30s that you have to have a very honest conversation with yourself about biological children. You can freeze your eggs or do fertility later on but honestly, it is shockingly expensive. There is a point in your life when you realize that you don’t have “plenty of time” anymore. If more kids aren’t in the cards then no big deal.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh June 2, 2014, 3:45 pm

        but what would wanting another child have to do with having a non-traditional relationship? she could still have another child outside of a traditional relationship….she’s already chosen that route once.

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      • avatar

        rachel June 2, 2014, 3:45 pm

        Yeah…but that just seems completely irrelevant to this LW and the advice she actually asked for. I’m sure there are plenty of people in her life who are ready to tell her bad news about her fleeting fertility, but that’s not why she came here.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 2, 2014, 3:48 pm

        That’s like me saying you are going to die eventually. Sure, you might be tired of hearing it, but it doesn’t make it untrue.
        Or even, chickens lay eggs! Sure, you might tired of hearing it, but that doesn’t make it untrue.
        Then, you might say, why are you telling me about chickens laying eggs when I was talking about ham sandwiches, lbh? Why? Because it has nothing to do with the conversation whatsoever, but its a fact, so Imma keep repeating it. This whole advice about babies has nothing to do with the letter at all, so why do you keep repeating it?

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      • katie

        katie June 2, 2014, 3:48 pm

        well yea except for the fact that she didnt ask about having more children at all.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 2, 2014, 3:57 pm

        Okay I’m totally okay with the facts you’re spewing. But this wasn’t a question about what she should do if she wants more kids and she’s dating someone casually. It was an article about a woman who is very happy with her life feeling pressure to have a life she doesn’t want.

        So you comment about ways she can get the life she doesn’t want? Your lecture is a good one… for the right LW. Not for this one. Save it in your back pocket for a while, I’ll let you know when to bust it out. Not today though.

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      • avatar

        ktfran June 2, 2014, 4:00 pm

        Fuck guys. I’m screwed. I’m mid-thirties. I better run out and find the first man who will marry me and stat so I can procreate before it’s too late.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl June 2, 2014, 4:07 pm

        Maybe I’m miss-remembering (it wouldn’t be the first time…) but I think you’re projecting a bit.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 2, 2014, 4:08 pm

        If you’re miss-remembering…I am too. And I totally agree…except I thing she’s projecting a LOT and not just a bit.

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      • avatar

        bethany June 2, 2014, 4:11 pm

        I really, really don’t get what point you’re trying to make. I’m pretty sure that all of us understand that we’re not going to be fertile forever. Why do you keep bringing that up? Seriously. Why? What good is it doing to this LW to have you keep bringing this up? Maybe the LW has always wanted one child. Maybe she didn’t want any at all, but decided to make the best of it when she got pregnant. Maybe she plans on expanding her family by an alternate method. Maybe none of that matters, because that’s not what she came here asking us about!!!

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      • avatar

        csp June 2, 2014, 4:27 pm

        I am responding to myself because there is so many rough comments that I don’t have time to answer all of them. Look, this has clearly spiraled. I said, “If these two things are true, then everything is great.” In many stages of life, you need to answer hard questions for yourself, honestly then you move on from the question. If you can say to your family, “I don’t want these things.” then it stops the conversation. In no way did I say that she had to want these things but if she did, she needed to face this.

        The reason I brought it up, was that she framed her comment as the “Stages” her lover and her were in and why this relationship worked in this “stage” for both of them meaning that she might want a long term partner or more than that down the road. Also, her age was listed in the tag line. So she is in a VERY precarious stage. If she was 24 or 54, this conversation isn’t even part of the equation. So why put in those details if they don’t matter. I apologize for so deeply offending everyone. That was not my intention, it was more just to have her solidify her position so when she faces her loving critics, she can have a formally articulated argument.

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        jlyfsh June 2, 2014, 4:37 pm

        i wasn’t offended, but i still don’t see how that advice applies to this lw at all. she doesn’t want a traditional relationship (if we’re taking what she says at face value). so why would she need to worry about having children in a traditional relationship. she could have a kid with this guy, with someone else. she might be done having children.
        .
        i highly doubt her ‘loving critics’ are worried about her fertility. usually when people are critical of non-traditional love interests it’s because they don’t understand why the person is happy with that set up, because they couldn’t see themselves being happy with it.

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        rachel June 2, 2014, 4:41 pm

        wjfs

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy June 2, 2014, 7:13 pm

        I get where CSP is coming from because I have certainly advised women, especially those in their 30s, to think about their longterm family/life goals and how they relate to their current relationships. But this LW already has a kid, whom she had in a “non-traditional” fashion (if we’re assuming that “traditional” = two straight parents who are in a marriage or committed relationship) and is happy with her decisions thus far. She’s also writing in complaining about how other people are basically projecting their own desires on her, or what they think she SHOULD want. If she wants another kid, I think she knows how she can make that happen and make that work (she already has one as a single mother, so she sort of already knows the drill).

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  • avatar

    bethany June 2, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Uugh, I hate when people push what they want for themselves onto other people!!

    I’m in a “traditional” relationship, so I can’t speak from experience, but I see nothing wrong or unhealthy with what you’ve got going on. As long as your child is properly cared for and loved, keep doing what you’re doing if it makes you happy.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ June 2, 2014, 2:11 pm

    As long as you’re happy and he’s happy and your relationship is healthy, then keep on doing what you’re doing and good for you! If you’ve got those things in your life, then you’re doing better than a lot of people in “traditional” relationships, anyway, and that matters far more than what other people think about it or want for you.

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  • avatar

    ktfran June 2, 2014, 2:26 pm

    Growing up, I always said I wanted I Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russel relationship. I’m a fan of the non-traditional, so I say do what works for you and as long as your’re happy, keep doing it.

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  • gigi

    gigi June 2, 2014, 1:27 pm

    Your child/children should always come first, other than that, as long as you are happy, keep doing what you are doing. It is hard to ignore cultural pressure that says romantic or family relationships need to look a certain way, but you can definitely follow a non-traditional path to happiness. I live apart from my BF also, due to our kids being in different school districts. We may revisit that in 5 years ( if we are still together) or maybe not, as I like living alone as much as I love the weekends I get to spend with him. Good luck!

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  • possumgirl

    possumgirl June 2, 2014, 2:45 pm

    I had a non-traditional relationship that I was very pleased with, and it didn’t feel like I was settling. It allowed me freedom and my own life while sharing a loving and happy companionship.

    “I appreciate your concern, and I know that you want what you think is best for me. But I’m honestly pretty happy with my current arrangement. No it’s not perfect, and like every relationship there is bad with the good, but this makes me happy. Please be happy with me.”

    You don’t need to justify your life to anyone but yourself.

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  • Stonegypsy

    Stonegypsy June 2, 2014, 3:27 pm

    I can totally relate to being tired of hearing that any relationship that does not follow the traditional trajectory is somehow not a grown up relationship, or not good enough, or whatever.
    I am in a happy polyamorous relationship (a couple of them actually), in addition to being very very close and occasionally physically intimate with my ex. Everyone is generally very happy with how things are going all around (of course complications do arise on occasion, as they do in any relationship, but we deal with them). I still have a hard time not internalizing the BS notion that my lifestyle is somehow wrong.
    A lot of people seem to really believe that Traditional = Only Right Way To Do It
    Even if they themselves are in a traditional relationship and aren’t really happy with it, they will do everything they can to try to convince you it is somehow more worthy than what you have.

    You already know this is BS. We don’t need to tell you that. You are happy. You’re taking care of yourself and your son, you are thrilled with the time you do get to spend with this guy, even if it’s not as much as you’d like, you’re focusing on your career. It seems like you have your shit together and are happy with your life. So, hard as it can be (I know), ignore anyone who tries to tell you that it’s somehow not enough. Chances are, if they are focusing more on your relationship than their own lives, it’s because there’s some element there they aren’t happy with and it’s easier for them to ignore it when they’re convincing themselves that you’re doing something wrong with your own.

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    • katie

      katie June 2, 2014, 3:46 pm

      haters gonna hate.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy June 2, 2014, 3:51 pm

        Yeah, that’s the TL;DR version 🙂

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson June 2, 2014, 3:27 pm

    Maybe I’m naive but I don’t feel like your relationship is that non-traditional. I think I read somewhere that over 50% of babies are born to an unwed couple. So you’re not dating your baby daddy, and you are in a happy relationship for many years. Sounds like normal life.

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  • avatar

    MsMisery June 3, 2014, 1:07 pm

    I am asexual (so no relationship here, but non-traditional life path in general). I’ve been semi-out for a few years, and I haven’t dated in almost 10 so my parents don’t even ask me about it anymore. You just have to know what you want. There will always be people with nothing better to do asking you when you’re going to settle down and have a bunch of kids and all you can do is smile and give them a polite brush-off. They aren’t important to you if they don’t get it or accept you for you.

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