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Lynn Coady

Should I move to New York, or listen to my biological clock? Add to ...

Group Therapy is a relationship advice column that asks readers to contribute their wisdom.

A reader writes

I recently split from my long-term boyfriend. Now I'm 30 and freaking out. One of my life dreams is to live in New York, but I hear my mother's voice (sometimes in my head, sometimes on the phone) telling me not to delay finding a partner (I do want a husband and babies), and my biological clock is clanging. If I move to New York, I risk: a) never finding a decent guy; b) even worse (to my mom), meeting an American and settling there; c) being financially irresponsible and never paying off my student loans etc. Should I just do it or be responsible? If I do it, how do I break it to my mom?

Follow your dreams

Go to New York, because it is an investment in your best possible self. Cultivating your sense of self will mean you become a better partner and mother down the road. Your mother should understand this better than anyone.

- Sophie Kohn, Toronto

Don't deny yourself

In my youth I had an opportunity to work in Paris, but circumstances got in the way (meeting a man I subsequently married). Many years later I long for Paris, to be there other than as a tourist, to belong. Would I have been happy there? Maybe yes, maybe no, but the main thing is that I would have done it.

- Betty Cullen, Toronto

Plan and follow through

Being responsible at 30 is knowing what you want out of life, making a plan and following through. New York is full of great men, some even Canadian.

- Jeanne Martinson, Regina

The final word

Your fears are well-founded, my friend. It's confounded social scientists for decades the way no woman in greater Manhattan has ever managed to find a man, let alone birth a child. It's like a Bermuda triangle for female libido/desirability - a wasteland of pallid, past-date Ally McBeals, flashing their stick-like legs at the indifferent masculine horde.

Seriously: What are you talking about? Why should a move to another city preclude a) the possibility of ever finding a partner? And b) meeting a "decent" guy?

Admit it, the real problem is that voice clanging away in your head and on the phone. Your mother's shrieks of panic are crowding out all rational thought.

New York is a city like any other - millions of people live and work there and some of them are even, as Jeanne points out, single men. Make a budget, find digs you can afford and don't buy a plane ticket until you have a job lined up. Set up a payment plan for your loans. You might be living lean, but you'll be living your dream.

Or you can stay put. Because you know what dudes love? Dudes love a gal who is so terrified at the idea of not being in a couple she suspends all ambition and enjoyment of life in favour of stagnation and self-denial. Before you know it, you'll find a guy every bit as timid and dissatisfied as you are. Think how happy your mom will be!

Lynn Coady is the award-winning author of the novels Strange

Heaven and Mean Boy.

Next week's question

My boyfriend and I are planning to marry and start a family, but his financial habits are scaring me. While he has a stable job, he has racked up $30,000 in consumer debt - buying a boat, expensive car etc. I'm struggling to make my small business grow while saving so that we can buy a home etc. - not to pay off his debts. How should I proceed?

Let's hear from you

If you would like to participate, e-mail us at grouptherapy@globeandmail.com. All questions are published anonymously, but we'll include your name and hometown if we use your response (it will be edited).

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