Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I am a single female of an age where I can hear my biological clock tick more and more loudly every day. I haven’t had much luck dating, and I am not so worried about being married or in a long-term relationship. I absolutely don’t want to get married just because my fertile years are running out. I do think I will have serious regrets if I don’t have children, and I am confident I could raise children on my own. I am open to adoption, etc., but I am struggling with when to do this. There are many sources that give different estimates for how long the process will take and how much it will cost. Do I wait until I’m in my late 30s, 40, or 45? Really, money is no object, but I worry that I want children for selfish reasons. I have lots of love to give, but it would also be nice to have family around in my old age. Is insisting on being a parent selfish? I have heard that so many children are in need of good homes, but that doesn’t seem to be the case when there would only be one parent.

Wondering

DEAR WONDERING: You seem to imply that one-parent homes don’t somehow qualify as “good homes,” but that simply isn’t true.

The time is “right” to become a parent when a potential parent reaches full maturity and is able to emotionally and financially support a child.

Children seldom arrive during the ideal or “perfect” moment, and they don’t exist to complete their parents, take care of you in old age or provide you with what you are otherwise lacking.

Children take a lot, but a parent’s capabilities seem to expand in proportion to a child’s needs. This expansion is the almost magical process by which children transform their parents’ lives.

You might start this process by exploring becoming a foster parent. This will give you an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the scores of children who need stable households. Your research might help you to realize if you are emotionally and physically ready to become a parent.

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DEAR AMY: About a year and a half ago, I underwent one of the most destructive breakups I’ve ever had. My ex destroyed my reputation online, took my house keys, my phone, my cat “mysteriously” disappeared and never returned and he took my sense of safety for myself and my 8-year-old son. He threatened my brother with a gun after he stood up for me online, and showed up at his workplace after hours. No one was hurt, but I was the worst emotional wreck I’ve ever been in my life. Most of my friends and family rallied around me to protect me and my son. We stayed at a friend’s house for a few days until the keys could be changed, and I got a new phone with a new number. I am now doing so much better, it’s hard to believe it ever happened, except for one thing: One of my friends, “Darla,” insisted on staying his friend and has been in contact with him throughout the whole thing, and afterward. Just after this last incident, she told me, “You got what you deserved, and now you’ll pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” She’s still friends with him, so I feel like I can’t trust that any of our conversations will stay private, even though she insists they will. Since then I’ve really backed away from our friendship and she keeps trying to draw me back to her. What should I do?

Torn in the Midwest

DEAR TORN: Your ex sounds volatile and dangerous. And anyone who tells a person who has been terrorized that she “got what she deserved,” lacks the insight into what it means to be abused and menaced.

It seems logical that in order to keep your distance from your ex, you would also keep your distance from people who are in regular contact with him.

If your friend maintains contact with him, she could unwittingly (or purposely) reveal something to him that puts you in danger.

DEAR AMY: “Feeling Alone in the World” reported trying to pull her life together after her father raped her and she reported it. Amy, thank you so much for telling her, “You are my hero.” I was thinking the exact same thing as I read her letter.

Moved

DEAR MOVED: This letter cut me wide open. Thank you.