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by Patricia Irwin Johnston, MS


What's wrong with this picture?

Bob and Alice met through a popular dating service. Each had signed up-a bit reluctant at first-at the urging of friends. Each worked carefully on a "personal profile" to be posted for others to see. Each was "matched" a few times; sometimes those matches "clicked" and sometimes they didn't. When Alice emailed Bob in response to his profile, and he returned her email promptly, she considered this one a "clicker" and so did he. They emailed for several days, graduated to phone calls, and decided to meet. The meeting went well and led to several months of casual dating while each dated others as well. Then came a moment of truth: Bob and Alice decided that they loved one another and were meant to be together. They decided to marry and set a wedding date several months in advance. Each worked on the details of their coming wedding-there were bookings to be made, a caterer to choose, invitations to order, living arrangements to decide, and more. One day, however, Bob was shocked to discover that Alice was continuing to date others! When he confronted her, her surprised response was, "Bob, I'm so surprised at your lack of understanding about this! I'm 40-something and the clock is ticking for me. I've had one marriage fail already. Surely you don't expect me to put my partner-finding hopes on hold because we're engaged. What if you change your mind before the wedding or right after? I'd be back at ground zero. Besides, I'd be very happy to have both a husband and a lover. Why is this a problem for you? Our life will be wonderful." Bob broke the engagement. Alice was stunned.

6 "The Commitment" first appeared as an article in Adoption Today magazine's January, 2001 issue.


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