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Ask question of dreams, kids of him

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am 23 years old, just graduated college and have a full-time job at a great company.

I also have a boyfriend. He is truly a wonderful person with a good heart.

However, recently during an extensive conversation, he told me the following: “Sometimes I feel like the success of your career will be more important to you than your relationships. … I’m not saying I want a housewife in 30 years, but I just don’t want my kids’ mother jet-setting around the country, missing out on their lives.”

I was hurt because he brought up my grand ideas, saying that although a lot of them are exciting, with these things he didn’t think I would be able to fit him into my life.

Honestly, at the end of the day, family, love and friends trump all. But I certainly deserve the right to dream and the right for those dreams to come true.

Do I need to “choose” between being the modern woman or accepting traditionalism? How do I even figure out which it is that I want to be, and if it’s a mix of both, how do I find that balance?

Or, is he right? Do we simply need different things?

GENTLE READER: Fortunately, this is an etiquette column, so Miss Manners doesn’t have to weigh your romance, which an outsider cannot do anyway, nor enter into the question of how to balance work and family, for which there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

The etiquette question – and it is an important one, as you are presuming eventual marriage – is whether he will treat you with the respect and trust necessary for a good partnership, and which you are presumably prepared to grant him. Miss Manners suggests continuing to discuss his concerns about those hypothetical children to find out what limits he expects to put on his own dreams for their sake.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, dearmissmanners@


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