DEAR AMY: I am a 17-year-old woman.
I do not want children and cannot picture having any. I am a very bright student with a lot of drive and a full college scholarship waiting for me next year, so it is safe to say that I am taking my life and future career to a far higher level than the ordinary stay-at-home mother.
I have decided I want to have surgery in order to guarantee against ever becoming a parent, and yet family and friends scoff at me for making this decision.
I know that numerous men and women out there have found their children to be the light of their lives and have no regrets (even if the children were not planned), but parenthood is just something I do not want. A baby is not going to make me happy. I am going to be the one to make me happy.
How do I show to the people I know that, although I am young, I am not going to change my mind on the baby subject tomorrow, next month, next year or even when/if I am 35 and single?
If I ever really do want a kid of my own, he or she will be an older adoptee, and I will have lived a pretty fulfilled life; I'll be financially and emotionally ready to give that child everything they need. How can I convince people I want to be surgically sterilized?
— Of Sound Mind
DEAR SOUND: You are not a fully grown woman. How do I know this? Because you are a teenager who thinks she has a crystal ball. You are also discussing a radical personal and private choice with other people and then griping when they question your choice or have a different point of view.
I don't question your (completely valid) commitment to childlessness, but I don't agree with a person so young having a medically unnecessary, invasive (and expensive) surgery. Although no contraception method is 100 percent effective, some get very close. You should discuss all of this with your doctor, who I hope would also recommend that you speak with a counselor.
If after doing all of your homework, once you turn 18 you can do what you want as long as you can finance this choice and face the short- and long-term consequences with maturity. But remember: One sign of womanhood is having the strength of character to hear, tolerate and perhaps even be influenced by other points of view. You need to relax, take your time and work on growing up.
DEAR AMY: I am in a bind. My new girlfriend not only likes to spoon but also snores like a grizzly bear right in my ear. I'm a very light sleeper.
She wants me to be intimate and then stay the night. We have discussed her snoring (she feels embarrassed).
I told her if she wants me to be with her she is asking for a disrespectful "hit and run," because I can't sleep with her due to her snoring and have to go to work the next day. Should I just break this off now? We are both 50 years old, and I'm not about to ask her to change her ways.
— Snored Out
DEAR OUT: Your partner can try any number of remedies to correct her snoring — starting with changing her pillow and her position while sleeping. She should also see her doctor to determine if her snoring reveals an allergy or other health problems.
Also, you can try to change your ways. Inexpensive, pliable earplugs (available at your local drugstore) might block out enough of this noise for you to get a good night's sleep without having to leave the relationship.
DEAR AMY: "Worn Down and Out" talked about how her partner runs off to assist his ex-wife at every turn, though they've been divorced for years.
You suggested that she should get more involved in order to assert herself. I think the issue here is his codependence. What's up with that?
— Been There
DEAR BEEN THERE: I agree. Being more present could help answer this question and also interrupt the cozy, codependent dynamic between these two exes.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson’s memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.