Dear Susan: I am a 36-year-old professional, educated, single female. I come from a wealthy, high-achieving and religious family. I have never been married and do not have children, and this has been creating a lot of problems in my life. Obviously, at my age, I feel a huge amount of pressure — from both my biological clock and my parents — to find someone and settle down. I became very discouraged and depressed last year thinking I would never meet Mr. Right. I had dated jerk after jerk and was disappointed over and over and at times was almost suicidal. Last year, I met a nice man who treats me better than anyone has. We have great chemistry and energy, and it’s a wonderful experience being with a man who I actually feel love from. The only problem is that he has a very low-paying job, isn’t successful and has limited education. My friends and family do not approve of him at all. I know I care and feel for this man, but I also have a sense of shamefulness because I know he does not measure up to my family’s expectations. For the first time in a long time, I actually feel loved. Will this relationship work?

Dear Confused: Not once have you said that you love this man. You say that you feel loved, but that’s a very different thing. It’s like you’re a kitten that has been given some cream and is enjoying every drop. If you don’t love him, what’s the point? If you have to have the approval of friends and family for everything you do, how many of your other relationships have they influenced? That said, it’s hard to be with a person who isn’t on the same page — but if you really loved him, this wouldn’t matter. You’re afraid that if he goes, that will be it for you — no more chances, and life and motherhood will pass you by. You’re gripped by fear. The main issue is that deep in your heart, you really don’t respect him. Have faith — if not in you then in life. Have courage: life will not pass you by. Listen to your inner voice. Life is teaching you a lesson here. I sense that he’s not for you, and I think you sense this too. If you have courage, I know that Mr. Right is out there waiting for you. If you believe, it will happen.