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Parallax - Advice

February 2, 2004

Nice guy

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question! I have never been fond of relationships because I've only witnessed the negative. Now, a woman has changed my life. She had a wild streak in her past, but is now a twenty-one year old mother and I love her and her son more than anything—they make me want to be a better person. Here is the catch: She is disabled (hearing impaired); her son was produced by rape; and her son's father committed suicide and blamed her (just writing this makes me cringe). I need your advice. I am in the military and will be moving in six months. I don't know all the details of her past. Do I need to know everything? I feel as if everything will come out down the road and I am planning to ask her to marry me before I leave. I don't need to be hostile about it, but think I should bring it up. She is very protective of her past and fears she will scare me away. What the hell do I do? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Protector,

My guess is that you've already heard the worst. Certainly, there can be other abuses in her past that will cause you even greater upset, but these will present themselves over time and it is up to her to bring them to the fore. You do not need to know all of her issues in one fell swoop.

The fact of the matter is that she has brought you into the world of the loving and she has given you more than any person or any life pursuit ever could. So do not miss a chance at happiness, they are few and far between. Ask her to marry you and pray she says yes.

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His view:

Dear Protector,

There are a couple of things you want to think about before committing to this relationship—even if you go ahead, thinking through these questions may help you down the road.

First, ask yourself why you love her. Don't confuse love with pity or a zeal to help and care for her. Her past and her problems are part of the whole, but she doesn't need just a caretaker.

Second, make sure that she is the right person for you. Just because she has had a more difficult life than you doesn't mean you shouldn't think about yourself. It's good that she makes you want to be a better person, but is this enough?

Understanding more about her past is also very important. Even more importantly, she has to trust you enough to tell you. If she fears you'll be scared away, it shows a lack of confidence in you and in your relationship. This is understandable, but she has to get over it.

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You Vote! 29% of Women agree with HER VIEW and 71% with HIS VIEW.

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