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Direct Answers - Column for the week of April 26, 2004

My girlfriend and I are basically the same age, just a six month difference. When I went to buy the engagement ring in February, I felt certain she was the right one. She accepted my proposal by saying, "If we go slow?"

We've been doing that. We had the ring resized to fit her finger, and the wedding wasn't to be until Easter 2006. This morning she broke it off. We were happy and taking it slow, but for some reason it felt fast to her. Right from the start, her relatives pressured her to break up. She asked me questions, I answered honestly, and my answers were acceptable.

I want to get married and have my own happy family in the next five years. Preferably in the next two. This afternoon I even cried. What can or should I do? I know suicide's not the answer, but maybe it would make a difference to her and them. No, I don't want to do that, but like I said, I'm feeling sad today.

Michael

Michael, on a merchant ship the second mate is responsible for navigation. Traditionally, each morning the mate would rise, take a fix on the stars, and recompute a fresh course to the destination. This is necessary because the wind and sea push the ship off yesterday's course.

The mate can chart a course and ring up the speed, but the sea determines when the ship will arrive. There is no point fighting against the sea, or against life. Ordinarily when a person thinks of suicide, it is because they are holding to a fixed idea, and they cannot imagine life in any other way. But life is full of possibilities.

If your depression is serious, seek help. But your sadness seems based on rigid expectations. You have a schedule in your head, and you want life to conform to your schedule. In the next two years you want to find a woman who loves you, whom you love, who will marry you, and produce children. That sounds more like ordering a new car than love.

Out of great love for someone who loves you, come a family and happiness. Where is the great love for this woman in your letter? No, what we hear is the two year schedule. What we hear is the difference between this woman, and your plans for a woman.

Life, and people, cannot be bent to your will. Surrender your schedule and allow your life to unfold.

The traditional farewell of a mariner is wishing a friend fair winds and a following sea. But the truth is we learn more about ourselves and our ship in a storm than in calm waters.

Wayne & Tamara

Seesaw

I'm a single woman who is intelligent, kindhearted, and attractive. I recently ended a relationship with a man I'll call Jordan. Jordan slowly moved from wanting to spend every moment with me to "needing some space."

Jordan is bipolar and refuses to seek help, and my attempts to help left him better and me with an hour of sleep. Recently we enjoyed a great afternoon when he invited me to a party. Well, the last time we went to a party, I was basically "left by the punchbowl." When I gently expressed my concern, he screamed, "Get out!" Which I promptly did.

I realize I'm stupid to want anything but to move on, but for curiosity's sake, because it's driving me crazy, what on earth is his problem? We seem to want the same thing, each other, yet he's going back and forth faster than a swing.

Darlene

Darlene, you ask what on earth is his problem. To borrow a phrase from teenagers, "Duh?" He is an unmedicated, bipolar person.

As long as he won't address the problem of his mood swings, there is no place on the swing for you.

Tamara

About The Author

Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com" target="_new">www.WayneAndTamara.com.

Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.


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