Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I have been with my boyfriend for more than five years. We live together and have two wonderful children together. We are both fast approaching 30 and are generally content with our relationship. I, however, have a nagging insecurity that won't seem to go away. While my boyfriend tells me he loves me and wants to be with me forever, he has not proposed or even given any hint that marriage might be in our future. I am happy to be with him, and I know that marriage is not necessary to prove that we love each other, but the fact that he doesn't seem to want to marry me makes me a little insecure. Am I overreacting? Is this something I need to get over?
DEAR IMPATIENT: I don't hold the rock-solid position that partners -- or parents -- must be married to succeed, longer term.
But to call someone you've been with for five years (who is also the father of your children) your "boyfriend?" This cannot be.
You may think I'm dwelling on the trivial, but my point is that if you think of, and refer to, him as a "partner" (for instance) instead of a boyfriend, it might codify your relationship in a way that makes you more comfortable.
It might also inspire both of you to act less like boyfriend and girlfriend and more like partners, and face this challenging, intimate issue honestly.
If you truly believe that marriage is not necessary to your future success as a couple and as parents, then you don't need my input. But my objective view is that a guy who could bring two children into the world and not want to marry the mother of his children is quite simply a guy who will never marry the mother of his children.
If you can think of him as your partner and "just get over" this important issue, then you should. Because so far, you don't really have much choice.