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Dear Carolyn: My same sex-partner and I are ready to start the process of surrogacy . once we overcome one major point of contention. While my partner and I share the desire to have a biological/genetic connection to our child, I am steadfast in refusing to consider passing on my genes.

I have struggled with major bouts of anxiety and depression since my early 20s. Although I've led a mostly enjoyable life by proactively seeking treatment for my mental health issues, I wouldn't wish the dark moments of my illness on my worst enemy. Mental illness is prevalent in my family and I think it's irresponsible to knowingly risk passing on a genetic predisposition to a difficult life, especially when my partner's genes would achieve the same end result.

He discourages me from fortune-telling the fate of an unborn child and laments denying him/her the countless positive qualities I would pass on, but I'm unmoved. Help me find the words to convince him that I have our child-to-be's best interests at heart.

- A.



A: You could continue to press the issue of genetic predisposition, which, yes, does involve some fortune-telling, but it's at least educated fortune-telling, given your family history; you could remind him you have just as much a right to want the child to have his good qualities, making his argument a wash at best; you could point out that your good qualities (do thank him, by the way, for the high compliment) are apparently more pleasant to appreciate than they are to maintain, and that's something only someone with a front-row seat to the demon-wrestling i.e., you can know.

But aren't we just wasting precious letters here?

You're dug in, he's dug in, and the phrase "How do I convince ." serves as little more than the battle cry of the dug.

Instead, I suggest accepting that you're stuck with one of four choices: You budge, he budges, you outsource the DNA completely, or you don't have a child.

Next, I suggest having both of you, separately, number each of these in order of absolutely flat-out buck-naked no-strategic-jockeying HONEST preference. For example, yours might be:

(1) His genes. (2) Rent-a-Genes. (3) No children. (4) Your genes.

Then, compare your lists. The comparison might not serve up a perfectly matched answer, but, like flipping a coin, it might unexpectedly jar one loose.

Selective salutations

Dear Carolyn: So what do you do with an acquaintance who can be friendly and nice to one person, and refuse to even respond to a "Hello, how are you?" from another? Her excuse is "I don't like them," but does that allow her to be rude?

Oh, did I mention we are in our 50s, not our teens?

- Anonymous 2



A: Excellent - so there's no risk you'll be shunned on the school bus for taking a proper stand. And assuming it's not possible to avoid her like a contagion, a proper stand is in order.

Such as: "I imagine she doesn't like you, either, and is just being civil." With a smile. Oh please?

Of course, by doing that, you'll cannonball your way onto her enemies list, but that sounds like an honor to me.







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