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Dear Feminists,

I am a 25 year old female. I have lived with my boyfriend for 6 years. I have wanted to marry him for along time. He does not want to marry. I have put my whole life on hold for him and have built my life around him. I put my schooling on hold to be at home with him in the evening. It is frustrating for me that he will not commit to me, but I have not ever given it a lot of thought until recently.

I got a new manager where I work. She is an incredibly Smart and successful lady. She has taken a great interest in mentoring me. She told me I have become to dependent on my boyfriend for happiness and that I have neglected myself by not being familiar with women's history and feminism. She has encouraged me to go back to school full time. She has even told me I should take a break from my relationship with my boyfriend. If it was not for the fact that she has been so nice to me I probably would ignore the advice but I respect her and she has gotten me to thinking about my future.

She recommended reading some material by a lady named Adrienne Rich. She said she was a feminist writer. I don't know much about feminism. Any information you might have on this writer and advice in my situation would be greatly appreciated.




Maryann -

Obviously I know very little about your situation and so can't really help you make certain decisions.

From what your have described, however, I think that you should move on from your boyfriend -- it's just not fair that he should have say in the course of the relationship than you do. Also, it seems pretty evident that you two want different things. I think the connection to feminism, which you boss was getting at, is that feminism is hopefully going to empower you to see yourself as an individual and hopefully help you to be able to see yourself as worthy of more than you are currently getting.

Besides Adrienne Rich, there are several feminist books listed at feminist.com and also just more general stuff about feminism, including something in the articles and speeches section called "What Is Feminism," which I co-wrote a few years ago and might be of interest. I hope that helps and I hope that you can have a great relationship, perhaps even with this same man.

Take care,

- Amy

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