Dear John: I have a chronic illness without a known cure. Because of my illness, I also am unable to have children. Should I mention this on the first date, or will it scare guys off? I don't want them to think I was about to drag them to the altar, when they just thought dinner and a movie would be a nice way to spend the evening. How do I handle it? -- The Truth Hurts, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Dear Truth Hurts: The issue that you are facing clearly, and with just cause, weighs heavily on your heart and on your mind. That said, I hope you can pull back a little and look at this issue from a wider perspective.
Many people make the mistake of treating the dating process as an exercise in finding a mate. Of course, this is one goal of dating. But, in fact, it is also the way in which we go about meeting others, or discover our own compatibility likes and dislikes. Dating doesn't always lead to marriage; marriage doesn't always lead to children.
No first date, nor perhaps 10th date, should have to focus on the issue of having children. To move from Stage One of Dating, Attraction, to Stage Five, Engagement, takes a substantial period of time, perhaps nine months or more. Attraction, the earliest period of dating, is all about enjoying each other's company, and determining whether or not you both desire to spend more time together. The time to bring up your concern is when you've both begun to consider whether or not you wish to make a commitment to the relationship.
When dating becomes a positive self-discovery experience, you are far more likely to draw the person you are looking for into your life. Take your time to make many friendships, and the relationship you want will find you.
Dear John: What do you think about a breast lift operation and the scars that go with it? I am a single mom considering this procedure. Right now, I have droopy "banana peel" breasts. Before I move forward, I would love to know a man's view. -- Chiquita, in Atlanta, Ga.
Dear Chiquita: Sure, many men may have some initial response to a well-toned (or surgically enhanced) body. Then again, while implants may light his fire, they won't be flames that keep it burning. The right guy is going to love you despite any physical changes you may go through -- or have already experienced -- on life's journey.
True sex appeal comes from within. When you feel good about yourself and you show a real interest in others, others are attracted to this positive energy. Before you consider drastic surgery, consider doing things that make you feel good about yourself. Join a gym, make plans with friends, do something out of the ordinary that says, "Hey, I'm an vibrant, interesting person!" Believe me, that is the true turn-on to most men.
John Gray is the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus."
Copyright 2009 John Gray's Mars Venus Advice. Distributed By Creators Syndicate, Inc.