DEAR SUSAN: You were right when you responded to a recent blogger and said it all starts with her and the way she feels. One's mood affects everything she does, not only in solo dining situations but in virtually every situation. What's in your head determines, to a great degree, the way people react to you. ---- From the Single File blog
DEAR BLOGGER: I have a fundamental belief that life -- single and otherwise -- revolves around choices. The main one? Choosing to be happy. From the different reactions triggered by each life event, we choose the one we will live with: being confused, downtrodden or realistically positive. I offer a choice that may not have occurred to you: your personal "people constellation." This is made up of confidants, fellow workers, relatives, lovers. The choice? Augmenters or diminishers. Augmenters are productive, successful and content with themselves, and they want to raise you to their level. Diminishers are downers -- angry, confused and unsure of themselves, with a weak self-image. Their purpose is to make you share their self-image; they don't want you to feel better than they do. This is the choice of all choices.
DEAR SUSAN: Sometimes it's difficult to know how to view the cohabitation issue. Some people cohabit with no intention of marrying, especially older people who have been married before. (My own father and his lady friend are a perfect example. They do love each other, but they aren't married, because they want to protect their children's inheritance.) Still, many women who cohabit do want to eventually marry, and if the man is less than enthusiastic about marriage, it just makes it easier for him to avoid it. It seems that it's a personal decision that should be based on what you want from a relationship. You need to be clear about your long-term goals. ---- From the Single File blog
DEAR BLOGGER: One interesting tidbit born from my nationwide survey (a while ago, admittedly) is that the majority of women in or considering partnership in a cohabitation arrangement do not see it as a long-term way of life. A whopping majority actually said they were in it for the experience only or believed that their partner would "come around" and marry them. The men responded with calmness, quite sanguine about living under the same roof with a roomie who didn't share their last name. So, on this burgeoning issue consider yourself deeply invited to speak your piece. The "Single File" blog is always open, welcoming your views.