I happen to be an educated young woman who loves her job, sometimes gushingly, occasionally annoyingly. And yet, even in this enlightened age, I’ve had two relationships end -- at least in large part -- thanks to that clammy-palmed discussion in which couples plot hypothetical milestones and life goals. The gentlemen in question said that, somewhere in our semicharted future, they expected me to quit my job. At least for a couple of years, anyway, in order to be the kind of hypothetical mother they wanted to raise their hypothetical kids, if that hypothetical day ever came.

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