September 20, 2020
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Dear Shree: Outlook's Agony Aunt

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Dear Shree: Outlook's Agony Aunt
Dear Shree: Outlook's Agony Aunt

Dear Shree, I got married a year ago to my now-husband. We decided to have a simple registry. We sent out a last minute email to our very large group of good friends saying that we were getting hitched but we were having a reception that night. The whole thing was informal (just like we wanted it) and all our friends came and we all had a great time. The problem is, only two of our friends got us wedding gifts. I don’t care about the gifts/material objects, but I feel bad that only two of our friends got us a gift. We have a very large group of friends who we socialize with on a weekly basis. Other than this, our friends are wonderful people, always there for us and I honestly couldn’t ask for better friends. Maybe it’s because we didn’t have a traditional social wedding? Ours was very thrown together last minute, however everyone was happy and able to make it. Should I feel hurt that no one thought to give us a gift? It sort of makes me feel like they don’t take our marriage seriously.                                                      

                                                                                                                                                       -  Divya Sarin, Delhi

While it’s certainly good etiquette to mark loved ones’ special occasions with a thoughtful gift or generous gesture, gifts are not mandatory and should never be expected. More specifically, when it comes to occasions where guests’ presence is the true gift, then the absence of a material gift is not something to get so worried. In your case, your guests had to scramble to attend your last-minute wedding. There were probably cancellations of other plans, possibly high travel expenses, and the simple inconvenience of suddenly shuffling schedules around. And yet, everyone from your very large group of friends made it.

As for the second part of your statement — the part where you question how serious your friends take your marriage if they didn’t give you a gift, I would think people’s attendance at your wedding/reception says a lot more about their feelings for you and your union. Furthermore, who cares what other people think about your marriage? It should have no bearing whatsoever on your happiness of your relationship. What counts is how seriously YOU take your marriage. So quit worrying about everyone else and focus on that. Focus on what you share with your husband and how wonderful it is to have a large group of friends you get to see on a weekly basis. You’re lucky.

Dear Shree, for a few years now, I have been feeling the need for a child in my life. I have two nephews who mean the world to me. When I went through a time where I was not sure I’d ever be able to have a baby (struggling with low fertility), it made me so depressed that I cried every time I spotted a newborn. But here’s the thing: Though I picture my life with children, I can’t picture a man I love. I’ve just never been in real love. I’ve been in love with the idea of my boyfriends, of having someone there to share my life with, but never in love. Although I would love to find a man who loved me unconditionally and whom I loved just as much, I always end up with trust issues. When I think of my end goal in life, it is not to be married for 50 years or to retire comfortably. It is to provide the best life possible for kids I don’t yet have. Is this terrible of me? Am I selfish for wanting to marry someone whom I don’t love and bring kids into the marriage? 

                                                                                                                                           -Vivaana Patel, Bengaluru

You’d only be selfish for marrying someone you don’t love to be a father and provider for your future child(ren) if you didn’t share this plan with him. There wouldn’t be anything, like, morally wrong with finding a partner/potential co-parent to procreate with and share a household with who ALSO wanted the same thing as you and felt as committed to the kind of arrangement you’ve described as you say you are. But . . . if you aren’t interested in marrying for love, why not just skip that part and have a baby on your own? Go to a sperm bank or consider adoption or look into other ways to become a single mother and just do it on your own. Something tells me though that maybe you really DO want to find love — you want that very much actually; but you’re afraid you won’t find it at all or in time to still have a baby. In that case, I still say you can have a kid on your own now without shutting the door to a love match in the future. If you marry someone for the sole purpose of procreating, you take yourself off the market for what could be a successful partnership (unless you eventually fall in love with the father of your child, whoever that might be). But if you remain single, you remain available. You could also consider freezing your eggs, if you have the budget for something like that, and extending your fertility a bit.

Dear Shree, I met a great man who was in town on some professional assignment. For about a month and a half we had a torrid affair. However, I noticed he never told me much about himself and was closed about questions on his personal life. Now he is back to his hometown and we are living apart. Before he left, I told him I wanted to continue the relationship if he wanted to. He just put his head down and didn’t say anything. After he was home for a about a week I gave him a call, because he hadn’t called. Then I called him again another week later and said I wanted to come visit him, but he hasn’t returned my call. Did he only want sex while he was away from home? Why wouldn’t he want to continue the relationship? I thought we really connected, why wouldn’t he want to try to keep the relationship going? I am heartbroken.

                                                                                                                                             -Lalita Rao, Hyderabad

There are lots of possible reasons he pursued a whirlwind romance with you and then went cold as soon as he was home — maybe he had a girlfriend and he was cheating on, maybe he was just using you for physical gratification and time pass, maybe he really liked you but soon realized how impractical a long distance relationship would be at this point in his life, maybe he really liked you and then got back to his own city and met someone else he likes and this girl’s a lot closer. Regardless what his reason was, he’s made himself clear — he’s no longer interested in pursuing a relationship with you — and you should save your sanity and quit trying to figure out what his deal is and just leave with dimity. There are other fish in the sea.

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