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I Dare You DEAR SUSAN: Being single is OK, but it means giving up a whole bunch of time waiting for the guy to phone. When he doesn't, I cry into my pillow. When he does, it's not much better; there usually isn't a second date. So here I sit, with lots of free …Read more. Must-Haves DEAR SUSAN: Honestly, I don't know what I want in a life partner. A few years back, I thought I wanted someone really good-looking, tall, smooth and devoted. But now looks don't seem important. Still, he must be devoted to me. — From the "…Read more. Tired -- or Selfish? DEAR SUSAN: The "titillating fact" in a recent "Single File" is that unmarried individuals are doing immense amounts of family work, with 1 in 4 American workers spending seven hours or more each week caring for an aging parent. Say what? Do you …Read more. Sh-I-ness DEAR SUSAN: It's gotten so bad I can't even open my mouth in the company of a man. Friends tease me about it, and my parents often join in, worried that I'll never have enough nerve to carry on a love relationship and get married. What's a shy girl …Read more.
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Angry With Men?

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DEAR SUSAN: I used to be angry with men just for being male. (I think my mother was part of the influence.) But as I get older (I'm 38), I want to rethink things and maybe unload most of my rage. I want you to help me understand the other gender because I want to be friends with the good ones. — From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Most women have at least a low-grade antagonism toward the male sex. I can hear the computer keys grinding out angry words as I write these. Well, that's a good thing. If we lasses ever are going to rid ourselves of the anger we carry around, we must vent it soon so it doesn't mess up our lives in the long term.

So let's you and I confab here and now. Yes, here in the privacy of the written word, let's agree that men are confused and tentative about what women really want, are fearful of offending us and thereby setting off a time bomb, and are, like us, often stuck in routine jobs offering minimal fulfillment. But unlike us, they can rarely opt to stay home and be a full-time parent. (How frustrating is that?!) They are not so intertwined with their feelings as women are and therefore often don't know how to proceed in their emotional lives. Also, they're reluctant to admit that they have fears, insecurity and confusion, because they don't want to be seen as weak. And they have difficulty talking about their problems with other men. Many men still feel burdened with 100 percent of the responsibility in romantic relationships and in marriage. Yes, despite all that's happened in society, men still perceive themselves as Atlas holding up the world. That is why a big part of effective partnering is carrying your own weight. If you'd like to explore the issue further, I strongly suggest you beg, borrow or steal Warren Farrell's book "Why Men Are the Way They Are." You'll be a changed woman.

DEAR SUSAN: The man in my life isn't always in it. He travels for a living, showing men's jewelry to buyers. He visits towns up and down the East Coast, hawking his wares like a Bible salesman; the only difference is that he is sincere and truly loves the stuff he sells.

I get to see him only twice a month, when he rushes to be with me and we take up where we left off. He doesn't date anyone else, and neither do I. But there's a lot of empty air in my life. What do you suggest? — From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Step right up, missy. You're on the vanguard of the unmarried world. And from here, it looks as if it's loaded with possibilities! Spacing your togetherness is a rare phenomenon. Lovers always want to be with each other 24/7. And that, my pet, is the largest mistake in a love relationship. I can already sense your protestations, but hear me out before you turn the page.

You see, I believe the world is moving so quickly that no one relationship can encapsulate both lovers for long. Far better (and more exciting) for partners to be apartners a good chunk of the time. And really, it's for the greater good of their love not to be in the vicinity to attend each burp and sneeze. So much of the illusion is retained.

Think about this long and hard. Deeply, too. It's the next best thing in relationships. And if I'm correct, this is here to stay. And it will grow such deep roots that it will stay to become ingrained, part of love's repertoire, because it makes great good sense. It's so beneficial to l'amour that it will be embedded in singles' and marrieds' views of this love thing. This is not a fad; it's the way love is going. Who has energy to make a living and make love on the same day?

There have been several notable couples who have been bicoastal and lived to stay passionate for years. I know a couple who live in the same apartment building but not in the same apartment. The arrangement works out quite well, thank you. I also know a married couple who agreed to an amicable divorce but purchased a large house they could share. He lives on the top floor, she on the first floor. It's a great setup for their children, who can stay with either or both without traveling great distances. But for adults, distance works its magic. The homecoming and goodbyes are romantic, passionate, fresh. I tell you, this is the next big thing. Spaced togetherness. "Single File" told you first.

Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at sumor123@aol.com.

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