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Approach your future two ways

Sun., July 5, 2009

Dear Carolyn: I have been dating a woman who is, save in one respect, the woman of my dreams. She is everything: She is beautiful, generous, kind, great in bed, a great cook, hard-working, of fine character and of a loving family. But we have no serious intellectual discussion whatsoever.

She wants to marry me, and I often want to marry her, but I cannot make up my mind whether it would be wise to do so.

I’ve tried to find out more about her interests, and to pursue the details of her work life, but the effort always ends clumsily. I believe she’s tried the same, but when I asked her about it directly, we had the only really hurtful fight of our relationship.

I know no marriage is perfect, and sometimes I tell myself I’m foolish even for thinking of parting from her. But I miss wit, and subtlety, and anything that might have come from an old book. I’m tired of small talk, of baby-talk, of talking about the weather. How do I judge whether this problem is a deal-breaker? – B.A.

This column, if I’m doing my job, is a conduit for making your own decisions better, not for having them made for you. That’s why I’ll refrain from pointing out that she’s the woman of your dreams, “save in one respect,” kind of like Pompeii was the perfect city, save for the volcanic ash.

If you so value easy conversation about complicated things, if your idea of winning the emotional lottery is never running out of things to talk about, then please make that your priority, without apology. Then decide whether life with this woman is the life you want. That’s the beginning-to-end approach.

If you’d tried that repeatedly and you don’t like the answer, then try the end-to-beginning approach: Imagine that, a few years from now, you meet someone with whom the subtlety, wit and substance come easily. Will you regret having married your lovely, high-quality, hard-working partner? Will she regret having married you? Will “everything” still mean something?


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