Dear Jody: Fishy situation


Dear Jody

Q: My partner and I have been together for 15 years. We got together in our freshman year at college. We have been very happy - or so I thought. We have many interests in common and have so many reasons why we are good for each other. Two years ago, my partner, "Dannie," and I had a baby girl. We were both so very happy, and I felt like my life was complete. I thought that Dannie thought so as well.

OK, so you are asking what is the problem. That was my question, too. But, two weeks ago, my Dannie said that she wanted to start dating. (We never had a commitment ceremony, but I sure thought that after 15 years we were committed.) Needless to say I was floored! I still am. I don't understand how someone can say after 15 years and a child that they want to now "date." What does she expect of me with that statement?

After I picked myself up, I told her that I didn't understand how she could say such a thing. Like, why did she have a baby with me when she feels this way. She said that when I had the baby she thought that that was going to help her because she had been feeling like she needed something else in her life. For her, it was like, "Is that all there is?" So, she thought that maybe a child is what was missing for her, not that it was our relationship. However, for her, it didn't make the difference when we had the baby.

So, that's where we are. Dannie is still living with the baby and me. She said that she won't date right now. But that's what she wants to do. She said that we met so early in life and she feels that dating is something she missed out on. (She didn't date in high school because she wasn't interested in boys, and girls were not an option.) What do you think I should do?

No Lesbian Bed Death

A: I am not sure what you should do, not knowing everything about your life situation. But given what you have said, if I were you, I think I would tell Dannie to do what she needs to do, but that she needs to move out if she decides to date. I think that if you were to insist that she not date, it would make it all the more attractive to her and she'd eventually leave. In order to do this, you would have to buy into the idea that if this relationship is meant to be, she will stay. If it is not meant to be, she will eventually move on anyway. I would also ask her to see a counselor so she can deal with what's really going on. For the sake of you and your daughter, I hope she sees, or will see, the beauty of your family.

Q: I want to run something by you that really bothers me, but my friends say I am just being uppity and arrogant. I want to see what you think. We have some friends, a couple actually, that have dinner parties where we are asked to bring our main course. One time it was lobster tail, this last week it was fish. They provide the rest of the meal and cook the main course. They are great cooks, but I think that if they can't afford to have lobster or fish for the dinner party they should stick with hamburgers. So far I have refused to attend any of these royal feasts, but my friends all go and seem to have no problem with the concept of BYO fish. They continue to say they have a great time at these events. How do I explain to my friends that this is not the way to have a dinner party?

Mr. Manners

A: So does a god write the book of rules on how to have a dinner party? For folks on a budget it seems to be a great way to have parties with great food without breaking a budget. You can continue to choose not to go, but it sounds like you are missing out on a lot of good food and fun due to your idea of what's right and what's wrong.

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Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The "Dear Jody" column appears weekly. To write Jody, send an e-mail to dearjodyvalley@hotmail.com. Letters may be edited.
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