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Dear Abby 3/28
Marriage only for convenience has little chance of success
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DEAR ABBY: I have lived with my best friend, "Lance," for five years on and off. Lance is 30; I am 24. Lately we have been discussing marriage. The problem is, he is gay, and the marriage would be for convenience only. I am not in love with Lance, nor is he in love with me. He thinks this would be a good idea because of the financial benefits, tax breaks and the like.
    I am a little hesitant because I still want the fairy tale. I want the little house with its white picket fence and kids running around in the yard. We have discussed children, and we know it's possible to have them without having to have sex. What is your opinion? — UNDECIDED IN NEW MEXICO
    DEAR UNDECIDED: I recommend against what you have in mind. You and Lance are still young. Your lives are just beginning, and the chances of you both meeting someone you could fall in love with are great. Rather than "settling" in order to take advantage of tax breaks, you would both be happier in the long run if you stay true to yourselves and live your lives as who you really are — best friends, but not spouses.
    DEAR ABBY: I have always had a difficult relationship with my siblings. I have befriended them and tried to do for them, but they are mean-spirited and selfish. My brother has also physically abused me. (He has been jailed several times for hitting his longtime girlfriend.)
    When I turned 40 this year, I finally decided that enough is enough. My psychiatrist, my husband and my friends agree that it's time for me to set boundaries and end these toxic relationships. I feel good about my decision.
    The problem is that my parents do not. They feel my two daughters, ages 4 1/2 and 20 months, should have a relationship with their aunt and uncle even if I don't. They accuse me of "brainwashing" my children and insist that my girls be allowed to see my siblings regularly and "make up their own minds" on the subject. I say it is my responsibility to protect my daughters and that my decision should be respected.
    Last weekend, when my older daughter was visiting my folks, they invited my brother to visit. They knew this was against my wishes and did it behind my back. Naturally, my daughter told me about it. Moreover, whenever my daughter visits them, they put her on the phone with my siblings and try to forge a relationship between them. Because of all this, I told my folks they may have only supervised visits with my children. Do you think this was going too far? — KAREN IN ATLANTA
    DEAR KAREN: It is unfortunate that it came to that, but no, I do not. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't be thrilled to have my children associate with someone who had been jailed for the inability to control his temper — in addition to having abused me.
    Please follow the good advice you have received from your husband, your friends and your psychiatrist. By not dealing with the hostility between siblings when you were children, your parents had a hand in the evolution of the situation that has resulted. Sad as it is to say, not all families are functional. And before you are finished with therapy, you may need more sessions with your psychiatrist to figure out what you need to do about your relationship with your parents.
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