DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I (both 23) have been dating for the past nine months. He does not want to get married and have kids later on — while I do. We both knew our stances on marriage and kids from the start, but because I was in the middle of my Hot Girl Summer when we met, I was totally fine with just casually dating. I truly think the legal benefits of marriage are very important. For example, visiting someone in the hospital when only family members are allowed. Honestly, if not for that benefit I wouldn't care about getting married. A man who is committed to me and our happiness is all I would want. His parents have been divorced since he was an adolescent, and he fears he'll get stuck in a loveless marriage or end up losing half his money and the kids in a divorce. We both agreed to just not think about the future. Lately it's been harder not to think about the expiration date for our relationship. We are so compatible in every single way (except for marriage). I do not want to prematurely end the relationship over this. I just want to be able to enjoy the love we have, appreciate my boyfriend, and truly give it my all before our inevitable end. I'd also like to avoid being absolutely destroyed when that time comes. Any advice?
DEAR IN LOVE: I have great news for you: If you and your boyfriend designate one another to be a health care proxy, you won't have to worry about being married in case of a hospitalization.
So — problem solved!
Except — this is not about visiting someone in the hospital. You want to get married and have children one day, and — you don't need to justify that. Your guy seems to have been deeply affected by his own parents' divorce, and it is not surprising that he is marriage-avoidant, although his very dim view of family life is cause for concern. It is a red flag, and you cannot simply choose to ignore it — because you are not built that way.
You are approaching the one-year mark of your relationship, and it is completely appropriate for you two to communicate honestly about where you see this relationship going. And if you want marriage and kids — you should say so out loud and be prepared to leave the relationship — not to manipulate him, but because you know who you are and what you want in life.
You've got more Hot Girl Summers ahead of you. You want to be with someone who shares your important core goals and values — a person who will still be there — long after the hotness fades.
DEAR AMY: Some of our longtime friends don't realize (or perhaps care) that this country's norms and institutions are eroding before our eyes and we are slipping into an authoritarian state. These friends seem impervious to our polite entreaties for them to, well, wake up! Our goal is simply to maintain the Republic as we know it. Of course, racial, social, and economic justice are essential, but cannot be achieved under a dictatorship. Do we have a responsibility to risk our friendships by continuing to persuade others of the dangers we face, or should we put friendships first? Or should we just walk away from those with whom we will never agree?
Tom in Los Angeles
DEAR TOM: I think you should celebrate the freedom we each have to either launch an insurrection, or go to the movies.
You don't seem to consider the possibility that those that disagree with your broad statements might not be wrong.
If your friends already know how you feel and what you think, your advocacy would go further trying to persuade people who haven't already heard your views.
Many relationships have been strained — and broken — over politics. These are values calls. Your political beliefs represent a core value to you, and so it seems that yes — your values should come before your friendships. However, if you only surround yourself with people who already agree with you, you will miss the important experience of being challenged.
DEAR AMY: The question from "Don't Ink my Name" sent shivers up my spine! A guy she had dated briefly went and got her name tattooed on his back! Thank you for urging her to take this very seriously.
DEAR UPSET: I hope she backed away, very carefully and definitively. This guy seemed … bananas.