When I was in the mental ward, it was mostly girls in their teens with messed up track records and eating disorders. But my roommate was from Kellogg, a top-ten business school.

I thought it was insane that she was there. She was so smart. She was going to be great at work. Her only problem was that her fiancé had just broken off their engagement. I thought she would be fine—there are so many other men to be had. But before I could ask her to explain, she tried to electrocute herself in the bathtub, with a blow-drier, and she was moved to the high-security ward.

That has been on my mind as my relationship with the farmer has unraveled.

Which makes me want to sleep.

I kiss my sons good night and then walk through a kitchen full of dirty dishes to my bedroom, thinking going to bed would be a good way to escape. But I can’t sleep. Probably because I used that trick earlier, when I came home from work and slept for a couple of hours before I took my son to cello.

I was not sad while I slept. But I was sad at cello.

Even since our first date, the farmer has said that he does not want to date me, but he does it anyway. Over eighteen months, we pretend things have changed, but really, here’s where we are:

The farmer owns about 100 acres on his own. He farms with his parents by putting his 100 acres with their 500 acres.

His parents have said that he will inherit the whole farm so he can keep farming the way he has, on 600 acres, for the last 20 years.

They do not want to guarantee that the farmer inherits the land. They say maybe they will give the farmer a guaranteed inheritance after they see if they like farming with him when he lives with me. They want to wait to see if I make their life hell.

I finally fall asleep and wake up to my seven-year-old saying, “Can you wake up? Is it morning? Can you ask [the farmer] if we can also have sheep when we move to the farm?”

“It’s not morning yet,” is what I tell him.

“Then can I sleep with you? And where is [the farmer]?”

“He’s not here.”

This is what I say. I’m not sure how long I can say it with any credibility. But luckily it’s the middle of the night, and my son is consumed with the idea of doing animal chores every morning with the farmer. My son has plans.

I lay in bed between my sons who realize something is wrong because ever since the farmer came into our lives, I’ve guarded my bed from them relentlessly, but tonight I let them in.

In bed I think about the farmer’s lawyer, who says depending on farming land that the parents control is a totally insecure way to live. Our days with the lawyer are over, though. It cost the farmer $5000 and he has, literally, nothing to show for it. Only discussions with the lawyer about how the farmer has to leave his farm.

I lay in bed staring at the dark ceiling. The boys breathe heavy and warm in my ears and tears drip down my cheeks and when they pool in my ears they are cold. I tell myself over and over again that the farmer does not want to farm on his own land without farming with his parents. I have to accept this.

He asked me to move to his farm, with my kids, living alongside the risk that his parents will tell him that they hate me so much that he either has to get rid of me or stop farming with them.

So I won’t move there. Because I think that if the parents, down the line, hate me enough to force the farmer to choose me or the farm, he’ll choose the farm. So I figure he should just make that choice now, before I move to Darlington, WI with my kids.

And he’s picking the farm.

Did you see the movie Monsters vs Aliens? The girl who turns into a monster breaks off her engagement because her fiancé is a jerk. I wish I could become a monster. I wish I thought the farmer was a jerk. I wish this were a movie, and my kids scratched the disc, so we’d have to stop watching, because the end of this is too scary.

The next morning, I wake up at 5am because I’ve been waking up on farmer time for so long. I sulk for an hour and then the kids wake up. I make lunches, make breakfast, make beds, make jokes (the knock-knock kind) and the kids are happy, and it makes me feel like I’m doing something right.

I went to the book fair at the school the night before. We take out one of our new books and I think maybe the kids are having a charmed life and I am overestimating the impact of farmer abandonment.

Then my four-year-old says, “Mom. Look!” and he shows me an eraser in the shape of an ice cream cone.

“Did you take that from the book fair?”

“Yes. Aren’t I sneaky?”

“No. It’s stealing. I told you we’re only buying books. That means you can’t take anything else.”

We talk about stealing. My seven-year-old asks with eyes full of glee if his brother will be going to jail.

We finish breakfast and I tell myself not to think about the farmer. I tell myself to focus on making the returning of the eraser a good lesson about fairness.

I would like the farmer to sell his 100 acres to his parents, who are willing to pay cash for market price, and then buy a farm somewhere else, so that we start fresh, together. I told him I’d move anywhere in the world that he wants.

He wants to stay right there. With his parents.

In the car, on the way to school, I tell myself it’s hard to be sad over losing someone who is choosing to farm with his parents over starting a life with me. But I’m distraught over telling my kids that the guy they have completely bonded with is going to disappear.

Proving that kids know everything, even stuff they don’t understand, my seven-year-old catches me off guard with his backseat chatter: “Who is coming to your birthday party next week?”

My four-year-old chimes in with a list of his own friends.

I say, “You two are my best friends. So I think it’ll be a party with us.”

The seven-year-old says, “What about [the farmer]? You love him, too, and he loves you.”

I turn the music up too loud.

I need to find some child psychologist to tell me how to tell the kids what happened to the farmer. So when they clamor for the Beatles I put on Ob La Di, Ob La Da, and the kids sing out loud. When I have been pretending that things are fine with the farmer, Ob la di seemed like Paul McCartney’s sunny summary of marriage and kids. Now the song feels like John Lennon’s ironic jab at the morons who think marriage ever works out to be happy.

I drop the kids off. Psychology Today says that depression is contagious and you usually get it from your mom, so I try to be extra chirpy during drop off. Except when we are returning the eraser.

I only go into my office when I have to, and today I have to because we are having an all-day meeting with the CEO who has flown in from DC.

We are talking strategy and he says that startups are always changing. The strategy changes, the tactics change. He says it has happened at every startup he’s ever had.

I console myself that he’s had two, huge exits. I hope that the rule of past performance predicting future performance will skew more toward his former exits than mine.

I try to focus. I wonder if they can tell when I am thinking about the farmer and when I am thinking about the company. Sometimes, when I think I cannot get myself back to thinking about the company, I excuse myself to go to the bathroom. I try to say smart things every now and then. I want them to think I’m smart.

I hope I am an exception to the rule. For broken engagements. For single parenting. For startup exits.

But I know that none of us is an exception to a rule. We are just regular. And another rule is that we are all lost sometimes, and being lost is okay. I am lost right now. I don’t know what is happening in my life, and I am scared to think of any of the reasonable outcomes.

But I actually know a bit about being lost. I’ve been through it before. I have been jobless, and I’ve figured out what’s next. I’ve hated my career, and I figured out how to switch. I’ve been dumped many times by many men, and I’ve always thought no one would ever love me, and I always fall in love again.

But there’s no magic solution. Being lost cannot be avoided. The best thing to do is to try to focus on something else. I know from past experience what works: Reading, writing, cuddling with the kids, dating men who write good emails, and cooking recipes that call for lots of sprinkles.

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  1. Claire
    Claire says:

    P, I’m in a similar situation (though 25 so the stakes and consequences are different of course) so I can definitely feel for you. Friends have been telling me regularly that everything will be ok. I know that, but know I will also need to be lost in between now and things being ok. Good luck!

  2. Shandra
    Shandra says:

    I’m sorry too, but I agree with the first commenter. You deserve someone who chooses you. As for your kids, there’s no perfect way to tell them – just tell them and give them hugs and dinner.

  3. Mascha
    Mascha says:

    Now let’s skip all those comments from people who will want to tell you about how you should have / should not have acted.
    The boys will adjust to the situation, it may take soms time depending on their age and flexibility, but you chose to share your happiness and life decisions with them and that can never be the wrong thing to do.
    The farmer is the one that made the mistake about wanting to marry you without solving his home/work situation that is hostile to anyone marrying into that and that is unfair to the boys too. You shouldn’t have to deal with criticism towards him too though.

  4. stephanerd
    stephanerd says:

    ::sigh:: This post makes me both angry and sad on your behalf. And helpless that I’m unable to help. So I’ll just send some good karma your way.

  5. Mneiae
    Mneiae says:

    This is the best post you’ve ever written. Your voice is always authentic and genuine, but this really takes the cake for my favorite article from your blog. And that’s possibly because I know how it feels.

    So thank you for sharing with us about all of this.

    • Master of None
      Master of None says:

      I agree. It feels more human and less Hansonian than some of your other posts (e.g. miscarriage). It may not help expand my worldview, but it does make me more sympathetic.

  6. LPC
    LPC says:

    Were this a novel I would be swept up by the language and be happy for the beauty of your communicated sorrow. Since it is your life I only wish I could make you some food. And find some different answer. What is it about your posts that calls out the mother to save you?

  7. CCS
    CCS says:

    This guy has been jerking you around since day 1. So his parents are controlling him and he needs to be with someone who will let his parents control. Good luck to him with that, I guess.

  8. David
    David says:

    This is absorbing and affecting, but if you want to sustain romantic relationships with men like The Farmer (indeed, with most men), you will have to stop discussing them in your blog.

    • Nannette
      Nannette says:

      David,
      The author was a blogger before meeting the farmer. The farmer was a farmer before meeting the blogger. The two are not going to change. Both of them should know this going in. If being a blogger is an issue I say don’t date bloggers because you will get written about on the internet.

  9. Alan Wilensky
    Alan Wilensky says:

    Well, doggies,

    This a well written, vividly illustrated example of, “the gulf”. We menfolk here (Charlie the Cat and myself) can’t fathom how a charming, hyper-intelligent tornado of Jewish quirkiness could be left behind for land, Livestock, and legacy.

    On the other shore of the chasm, we have a gentile agribusiness family enterprise whose culture places near infinite value on the continuity of the legacy; no relationship takes primacy over, “the land”.

    As for me, I have gathered much information. I know now, due to your vivid rendering, that my ideal imprint, if G-d willing I get out there and find a potential mate – will be like you P-Lope = Impossible to predict, crazy smart, creative, funny, quirky, shocking, and altogether preposterous and impressive in every way.

    Think I can find her on Craig’s List…hmmm, not so sure. eHarmony? I thow my shoes at the their TV commercials.

    You survive, lady, damn-it, don’t let the profane culture of the insular agricultural clan kill you, G-d forbid, heaven forfend, Gevald, Gevald. Have we not been witness to sufficient reproofs and tales of your legit problems that have assailed us?

    I hereby toast you, Gal, by raising my bottle of Antidepressants high and doubling the dose in your honor.

    My name is Alan Wilensky, I was divorced in 1999 from my great love, and I have not had a partner since, in any shape or form. You read that right.

    L’Chaim.

    • thatgirlinnewyork
      thatgirlinnewyork says:

      oy, you said a mouthful, and like the brother all of us want when something like this hits us in the face, and we’re standing there with cartoon stars circling our head, disoriented, distracted.

      you hit it on the head–p fell in love with the farmer, but he came with a clan. some men in some milieu can show up on their own, but he chooses to drag the whole mishpocheh with him, rendering the transaction impossible without their input. when dylan says “don’t ask why” he knows from this kind of mangle.

      penelope, sister, i wish i was somewhere in the county. i’d come over with an armload of covered dishes, hose down the kitchen, and distract the children such that you could lay in bed and cry this one out for as long as you need. i don’t have children, but i can imagine that it’s difficult to give yourself to the full experience of sadness around them. doing so might help you find the right way to explain the complexity of adult relationships, and why they sometimes don’t work.

      you’re smart, and yes, as always, you’ll get through. but not one of us who has experienced this needs to tell you what you should have done. i was so very sad to read this, and i send you my warmest thoughts in this cold hour. needless to say, if the insanity of our fair city can be any salvo to you, we welcome you here.

  10. Amy
    Amy says:

    I am sorry you are going through this. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, again. It helps the rest of us to feel like we are not exceptions to the rule, either.

  11. Laura
    Laura says:

    I’m de-lurking to say that I don’t even know you and I want to cook you a meal and make you go for some exercise to cheer yourself up. I don’t know what you should do or not do, but I know you will figure it out. We are all pulling for you. Well, those of us who keep coming back, I mean.

  12. calisara
    calisara says:

    I’m so sorry this is happening to you. Heartache is one hell of a lonely feeling. We are all thinking of you, so know that you are not alone. And we root for you. For whatever may be. And eventually (when you get to it) in hindsight, things always work out. Hang in there, things will find a way.

  13. Theresa Quintanilla
    Theresa Quintanilla says:

    When we read Romeo and Juliet we think to ourselves that our families wouldn’t be that way, but in truth, our families will be that way if they feel threatened by someone who’s sufficiently different and it’s a real-life tragedy. No playing around with pretending to be dead, please. The little boys will be wounded but they will be more resilient adults. Eventually. Sigh. Sob.

    • thatgirlinnewyork
      thatgirlinnewyork says:

      good point. but the more i think about it, it’s probably less about who penelope is, and more about the fact that the farmer’s family doesn’t trust him, no matter who he chooses to marry, because it’s all about them. when/if he wakes up to that, he’ll be either forced to seek control for himself, or he’ll live in a pool of resentment for the rest of his days, subconscious or otherwise.

  14. Raul
    Raul says:

    Do you know Penelope! My name is Raul,I’m from Brazil and I’ve been follow your blog for the last few months regularly and never did a comment, but today I will. I’m not psycologist and like others I am so sorry, perhaps, not from you, but to the farmer. Coz, He didn’t realize how much He might lose to choose the farm and his parents and not you!

  15. Robin
    Robin says:

    At any other point in my life I would have given you chin-up, guy-in-the-next-port advice. But I’ve spent so much of 2009 in tears over the same situation that people think I have terrible allergies. That hollow, sad feeling is just that: a hollow, sad feeling. You already know that sleep, activity, and time are the great clotted trifecta of healing.

    Despite all logic to the contrary, the kids will be OK. All they really need to know is that you’re not going anywhere.

  16. Tanya
    Tanya says:

    This must have been a tough choice for you to make in the first place and to ask the farmer to choose now, but you know it’s the right thing to do and that’s what matters. I am sorry it turned out that way. I am sure it is for the better in the long run.

  17. Siddharth sarda
    Siddharth sarda says:

    since so many people have already said i am so sorry i wont say that, but i am. I liked the farmer and considering all that you have gone through you needed his kind of stability. I am a recent reader of your blogposts and sometimes i think you can understand the 20-somethings because maybe you never grew out of your quarter life crisis. I just hope that this does not lead to anymore of the self-destructive things that you have done. I am sounding patronising and like i know you, but i dont. Just consider this something one lost person would say to another.

  18. Ann
    Ann says:

    Great writing. Thanks.

    I’m sorry things are dark for you and your kiddos right now. That sucks.

    You’re in my thoughts; I wish you well.

  19. Ernest
    Ernest says:

    I’m so sorry, Penelope. You are always authentic and vulnerable, but this is the most human of the many heartwrenching Brazen Careerist posts you’ve written.

    Totally not to play down reality, but San Jose Mercury News had an article on Farmville yesterday http://www.mercurynews.com/search/ci_13911507?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com. In it, Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga (the FarmVille software company), indicated “male players are generally driven by building a booming agribusiness, Pincus said, female players are more likely to design colorful, vibrant, playful farms.”

    Sadly, real-life imitates virtual world in this case with the farmer. But the flip side of FarmVille is that it affirms you as one colorful, vibrant, and playful.

    Let me reassure with Robert Frost who said, “I can sum up in three words everything I’ve learned about life: ‘It goes on.'”

  20. Sara
    Sara says:

    I appreciate that I don’t really know you and all that – but when I read a post like this – it reminds me how much you are like my sister. Please, please, please – MOVE on. I know you’re hurting. But the red flags have been waving for a while on this guy. Your kids deserve better. I’m phrasing it that way to hope to make an impact – think about it – I know you may struggle with self esteem issues – but YOUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER than this guy.

  21. MichaelG
    MichaelG says:

    You really should avoid Thanksgiving… That’s what set this off, right?

    Call in sick next time anyone asks you to meet their (critical) family.

  22. Jess
    Jess says:

    I am so sorry, and I agree with everyone who said that you deserve better. Good for you for being strong enough to find out where he stands now, and not put yourself and your boys in the position to lose your home because of hostile family dynamics.

    But mostly I want to say that I absolutely love your list of “what works. I am putting it in a safe place, because I know that it will be just what I need some day.

  23. kat
    kat says:

    So sorry things are not working out. I am a recent discoverer of your blog. When I read your tweet about there being trouble in Farmerland, I kept returning to see if you had blogged with more detail. When I read this blog, all I could think was awwwwwww. Hugs to you and the boys.

    • karen
      karen says:

      Agreed! time is the magic pill. Your rainbow at the end will be born of this self reflection:

      I've been through it before. I have been jobless, and I've figured out what's next. I've hated my career, and I figured out how to switch. I've been dumped many times by many men, and I've always thought no one would ever love me, and I always fall in love again.

  24. lola
    lola says:

    Leaving him is the right thing. When you get married, your spouse becomes your primary family, more important than your birth family. If farmerzilla already couldn’t break that tie, he never will. Sad that his parents can’t let him live his own life, but he is too weak to have a partner like you. (and he doesn’t deserve your love)

  25. Joanne
    Joanne says:

    Hi Penelope. My heart goes out to you. I feel lost, too. I try to distract myself with the good I already have in my life. It sounds like you’re doing the same. You have an open invitation to my Chicago home anytime.

  26. ziggy
    ziggy says:

    Penelope, I’m wondering why you two are no longer together. He was with you when you blogged about the men you slept with; how you can’t process things well do to Asperger’s Syndrome; he stuck by you while you couldn’t pay your electric bill (but flew from Wisconsin to L.A. to get your hair done — do you think he thinks you may be bad with money?

    The farmer stood by you as you told us strangers about the abortions you had (including your desire to not have the farmer’s kid), and as you tweeted about having a miscarriage in a meeting!

    Why would he leave you after all you went through together?

  27. RS
    RS says:

    You are so worried about your boys being hurt and that is what love and family is. You don’t want them to grow up being exposed to the farmer’s hateful family. You and your children deserve so much better than that. I wish the best for you all.

  28. Ana
    Ana says:

    I kinda understand that Farmer’s parents are trying to protect the family assets but the outcome is a bit disturbing: a grown up man who has his personal/financial life hanging on his parents approval. This is way too adolescent. I’m sure nobody is consciously trying to ruin anybody’s life, however, Mom and Pop should be less controlling, Farmer should be more mature (not for your sake but for his own), but this is real life so you should be glad. You honestly think your love – any love – would survive to this environment in the long run?
    That being said, I’m deeply sorry for you and your babies. Be strong. Wish you all the best.

    • sL
      sL says:

      Ana, you’re wrong. The farmer isn’t a grown up man. He’s still a boy, tied to his mama’s (and sister’s) apron strings.

  29. Shawn
    Shawn says:

    He’ll be back again, promise! He can’t get enough of you…it will just come down to your decision of whether or not you want to continue to mess with his inability to be a man. Yeah farmer you heard me – I know you read this stuff.

    What bothers me the most is he was all worried about looking whipped when you wanted to hold his hand at that fair so long ago. But it when it comes to cutting the umbilical cord, it appears that he is still suckling from his mother’s teet.

    We both know that’s not the case – the farmer is stuck with one mindset that long term security can only come from his inheritance. Unfortunately, based on your other post about the family dynamics it sounds like the parents use the promise of inheritance as a bargaining chip to keep him subservient to their own whims and wishes…which is no different than a father telling their child that they won’t pay for their higher education unless they make the grades and attend the college of their parents choice.

    I know it’s hard right now P, he will be back…you rock his world – he won’t admit it, but you do, he’s drawn to your fire. Find something to distract you for now…but take this time to decide if you keep wanting bang your head against this wall. Understand that if you marry into this family, they will be a constant pain in your ass. Whether you like it or not, they will be part of the package deal. He will never let them go until they pass on to a new plane of existence.

  30. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    I was sort of on a roll, being more chatty in the comments section. But tonight, I am just so sad. I don’t know what to add to the comments, even though I have read them all three times because the only other thing there is for me to do tonight is mope.

    The conversation about what, really, is going on here is so helpful to me. Thank you.

    Penelope

  31. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    WOW. How sad. My heart goes out to you and your boys and the incredibly difficult conversation you’ll have to have with them. But the bottom line is they have you, always, and in the end that may be all they really need.

    I have to say, a man who allows his parents to use their stake in his current livelihood and future inheritance as leverage to control his personal life (so what if they hate you? don’t all of us have to deal with relatives we can’t stand?), rather than entertaining any one of a few seemingly viable options (like getting your own farm) is not the right man for you.

    I’m so sorry.

  32. LN
    LN says:

    A long long time ago, I told a boy, through a downpour of tears, that I didn’t want to go to Prom with him…because I knew in my heart that he didn’t really care if he went with me or not. I told him I wanted to go with someone who wanted to go with me. I had this conversation when I was 17, and now two decades later…I’ve found that I’ve had the exact same conversation (with different boys, and different companies) many many times. And you know what? – it gets easier every time. 17 year old me was wise and I didn’t even realize it.

    • Nannette
      Nannette says:

      I’ve read all the comments so far and I like this one the best. Excellent. I only wish I had been so smart at 17. Took me 22 years longer.

  33. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Oh, Penelope.

    I’ve lambasted you lots of times when I think you’re being insane but today, my heart breaks for you.

    Nothing is really going to take away that sadness for now, but I don’t think anyone should have to work as hard to make someone love them as you have with the farmer.

    You deserve someone who would sell their farm a million times over just to be with you. And your boys will be just fine, because you are teaching them an important lesson.

    And that lesson is don’t settle- and if you stayed with the farmer when he’s willing to make so little sacrifices to be with you, it would be settling.

    Things will be okay P. x

  34. Alizah
    Alizah says:

    Dear Penelope,
    I appreciated the link to the Psychology today article, it really resonated. I’ve been wrestling with whether to break up with my sweet and optimistic boyfriend, because he never seems to get how hard my life is. Now I realize that instead I need to focus on breaking with old depressive patterns. It is touching how much effort you are making to protect your kids from feeling hurt.
    Only found your blog this week, and it’s a gold mine of real advise, inspiration, and common sense.
    Thank You!

  35. Becky
    Becky says:

    I’ve never commented because I don’t have anything to add, but I wanted to say that I’m sorry you are having to deal with all of this. I really enjoy your writing (especially the posts lately about Aspergers), and it hurts me to see anyone have to deal with this kind of thing.
    I know farmers, and the lifers are all like that – more attached to the land than anything. In a way it makes sense – they’ve poured their blood, sweat and tears into that particular plot of land their whole life. They are very emotionally invested in it. But logically it makes no sense at all. What difference does it make where you farm? And how could a grown man let his parents influence his adult relationships so much?
    Obviously I don’t have the answer (I don’t know that anyone does), but I want you to know that I’m thinking of you and your boys. Good luck.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Hi, Becky. Thank you for the comment. The part about farmers — how that’s how they are and it doesn’t make sense. I appreciate that insight. I will probably use it to second-guess all my actions, but I was second-guessing anyway. Now, at least, I have more info.

      Penelope

    • M
      M says:

      I have to agree with Becky. I am married to a farmer and know just how emotionally attached he (and his father and his grandfather) is to the land he farms. To his family, it is so much more than dirt (pardon me, SOIL…I’m still corrected on that after 20 years) that grows crops…it is their past, present and future. I am so sorry, Penelope.

  36. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    Penelope–I am SO grateful to have found your blog–I received a link from someone on the Preemie List serv (a significant number of preemies are on the autism spectrum and I have two of them.) I’m also a therapist with a growing client population diagnosed and seeking treatment and help with Asperger’s. Your experiences, insights and observations are making a huge difference in people’s lives and I send many people your way. What a great resource and encouragement you are to people who often feel hopeless, misinterpreted and misunderstood. Thank you for baring your soul and your story. You will make it through this but it will hurt for awhile and you will grieve. My heart goes out to you and your boys.

    • Kelly
      Kelly says:

      Suzanne knows of what she speaks. Unless you grew up on a farm, as I did, and were raised always knowing that you would be taking over that farm legacy, you cannot understand how important their farm is to a farmer. When I met my husband I explained to him that I would always be living on this farm and there was no point in us dating unless he would be willing to live on the farm. Our prenup protects the farm in case our marriage does not last. If it did not I could not have married him. It is hard to explain, but I honestly feel if I did not have my farm I would cease to exist. I would endure any fight or struggle to keep my farm in my family, even if I couldn’t live there myself. You can say the farmer is immature or pathetic for choosing his farm, but he really has no choice. A farmer’s land and legacy is his blood. No other farm will do. For him to give up his farm, or for his parents to risk losing it to someone who doesn’t feel the same way about their farm, is equivalent to asking someone to give away their child or trade them for a stranger’s child – unthinkable, impossible, unimaginable.

  37. Jay Godse
    Jay Godse says:

    Penelope. Your situation sucks.

    The problem with your relationship is that you are a pioneer, while the farmer is a member of the landed class. Your kind strikes out on their own with nothing but their wits, and scrimps and hustles to make a life for themselves. Your kind of people are what made the USA the great nation that it is today. You break all of the tacit social rules and traditions along the way.

    His kind of people are stable and conservative and build wealth slowly over generations, or lose it slowly over generations. It means that there are strict boundaries of who can breed with whom, property rights, and inheritance rights. His parents are unlikely to support somebody like you who has a statistically low probability of delivering a biological heir to their estate. His kind of people conserve and preserve the old traditions, good or bad. The British Royal family, wealthy Indian business families, and many agrarian rural societies hold these values. His kind of people sometimes breed pioneers, and these are the ones they have to cut off. I don’t think he is a pioneer, nor does he want to become one. If he was a pioneer like you, he would stop farming with his parents and risk forfeiting the inheritance to follow his dream, even if that dream is starting his own farm from scratch.

    The ironic thing is that his ancestors were the pioneers who settled Wisconsin. Such is life.

    The question you have to ask yourself is if you are willing to become one of the landed class. Your previous blog postings suggest that your family was somewhat landed with considerable wealth at their disposal over a few generations. You forfeited it to follow your dreams. On the other hand, you are over 40, and might just be ready to settle down, but I don’t think so.

    He’ll never respect your pioneering tendencies and you will probably never defer to his “landed class” tendencies. That is the situation you have to deal with. Good luck.

  38. Allison Williams
    Allison Williams says:

    Please don’t give up writing what you want to write, how you want to write it. I’m a writer, too, and it’s hard to make the choice to threaten my relationships by writing about them. In the end, I would rather be a good artist than a good girlfriend. I would be less than my whole, best self if I didn’t make that choice.

    It’s hard, hard to find a partner who can be brave enough to support you being your whole, best self even though it sometimes causes them pain. But just like the men and women who climb Everest, ride motorcycles, play pro football, and go to Afghanistan, and who cause pain, suffering and worry to their partners and families by doing these things, we would be less if we were not brave enough to do them, and we are worthy of partners who can deal with it.

  39. Green
    Green says:

    I know less than nothing about farming, so maybe this is a dumb question, but why would the parents hate farming with the farmer if you lived there? You’re not expected to pick apples out on the farm with the parents, right? So you wouldn’t really be involved in the farming at the level the farmer is, right?

    I am sorry you’re hurting.

  40. Donna
    Donna says:

    Some men are pigs, farmers included.

    It sounds like the farmer is immature and not willing to take on any of the risks of being in a relationship. While family is important, his parents are wrong for using their farm as golden handcuffs to control their adult son. One day they will be gone, and he will be alone on his farm w/600 acres, wondering what could have been w/Penelope and her boys. And it will be too late b/c Penelope will have moved on & will be with someone that has made her a priority in his life.

    I know it hurts now, but this too shall pass & each day it will hurt less. Surround yourself w/your loving boys, friends, family & your reader/subscriber/follower supporters.

    Hang in there, Penelope…you are a superstar!

    • J (the regular)
      J (the regular) says:

      Hear Hear Donna! This line sums it up best:

      One day they will be gone, and he will be alone on his farm w/600 acres, wondering what could have been w/Penelope and her boys. And it will be too late b/c Penelope will have moved on & will be with someone that has made her a priority in his life.

      Remember that P. You are making the right choice.

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