The Most Reasonable Woman in the World (Rose) told us she was happy with the way things turned out. No, her boyfriend of 12 years hasn't married her and she doesn't have children, but she says marriage and kids were never her priority. Today we hear from people who say, "Really?"
GRETCHEN: So everything has turned out right for her in her still-single state? On paper, yes. And for now. But what about the future? Rose is in her early 40s. What will happen when she's in her 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s?
Will she have her boyfriend at her side to comfort and help her when the medical, financial and other woes of middle and old age start setting in? Will she ever enjoy the pluses of marriage, such as respectability and security, both financial and emotional? In view of statistics, it's likely that Rose will outlive the man in her life.
When he's dead, she won't have grown children to comfort her and aid her after her parents, siblings and other close relatives and friends are dead, too. She won't have children, because when she was young enough to marry a man who was willing to give her children, she foolishly chose romantic love instead.
Rose said, "I have never wanted my own children and have never had a deep desire to even get married." That's how she may feel today (and I stress may) but what about tomorrow?
Marriage may be just a piece of paper, as some people say, but when push comes to shove, when a couple quarrels, it's a thousand times easier for the man or the woman to just walk out when it's an affair. Rose has my deepest sympathy. Someday, she'll need it.
ANNA: Rose sounds like just another sucker of the all-day variety.
BARNEY: Rose is not reasonable. She's a pushover.
CAROL: One thing the same-sex marriage issue has brought out is the hundreds of legal and financial advantages bestowed upon married couples — everything from health insurance to joint tax returns to visitation rights in the hospital. Why would Rose voluntarily surrender all this just because Brian has grown offspring from his ex-wife?
I hope she and Brian live separately and are entirely financially independent of each other, because as soon as something happens to her boyfriend, the kids will take over his finances and they won't even put her on their list. Even if Brian were to put Rose in his will, the kids could try to overturn it.
KATE: For every letter like the one from Rose that Cheryl gets, I'd be willing to bet she gets at least 100 from women dumped by the married man they were seeing, and maybe another 50 from those "lucky" enough to marry him only to find he cheated on them or otherwise proved to be disappointingly different from the self he presented during the affair.
How did your affair with a married man or women turn out? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not.