Dear E. Jean : I may have just ruined my life for a man. He’s a partner at a white-shoe law firm, with an apartment on Fifth Avenue and a house in the Hamptons. When we first started seeing each other, I was a lawyer in Indianapolis, and we spent a couple of weekends together every month. I realized quickly that nothing would happen for us unless I moved to New York, so I found a position with a Manhattan firm I hated, got an apartment, and now unfortunately, things are taking a turn for the worse.
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Item: He won’t give me the keys to his apartment. Item: He’s constantly overbooked with work commitments. Item: He won’t discuss marriage. Item: He doesn’t respect me intellectually. (For example: I’ll suggest a strategy for one of his cases and he’ll say, “That’s why you’re not a—name of his prestigious firm—attorney.”) Item: We went away to a gorgeous Caribbean island for vacation, and I overheard him describing our romantic trip as “a bit dull and claustrophobic.” (I felt like I’d been stabbed!) Item: He’s very close with a beautiful female associate in his firm who has two Ivy League degrees with honors, a prestigious clerkship with a judge, etc.—stuff I never had a hope of getting. Item: The last time he answered his cell phone (I was calling to congratulate him on winning a case in Texas), he barked, “This has to be E___ [my name] calling, because no one else could possibly be this annoying!” E. Jean, I love him! I want him! I want kids before it’s too late! What do I do?—Not in Indiana Anymore
Indiana, Hunny: Item: I don’t like the bugger. I don’t like his unkindness. But if you want him (do you really?), get on with your career; take up a brutal, competitive sport (kayaking, rock-climbing, handball) wherein you beat the tar out of the conceited lout (this will gain his respect, not to mention moving nicer, newer men across your path); lash together a circle of New York friends; don’t call him; don’t text him; don’t suggest plans; never mention marriage; don’t scheme—and absolutely no scenes. Chances are still 99 percent against you, but there’s a one percent sliver of a half-assed hope he’ll come around. By then, of course, he won’t fit into your intriguing new life.
This letter is from the E. Jean archive.