DEAR READERS: I've stepped away from my desk for a few days; I hope you'll enjoy these "Best Of" columns in my absence.
DEAR AMY: I am a 30-year-old woman who has been planning her dream wedding for as long as I can remember. I have also always wanted to be a mom. My boyfriend of seven years does not want to ever get married or have children. He is 32 and happy with the way things are. We own a home together and are financially secure. All of my friends are getting married and I am not getting any younger. Should I stay with my boyfriend, hoping he will change his mind, or should I pack my bags and leave?
Desperate to Be a Bride
DEAR DESPERATE: First, I think you should ask yourself why you have cast your lot with someone who doesn't want any of the same things you want. Having a house in common isn't much to go on, in terms of sharing your basic values. People don't usually change their views over something so fundamental as marriage and children, so your staying with him just seems delusional.
Cash out your share of this property, pack your bags and go. As you say, you're not getting any younger. (April 2005)
DEAR AMY: I moved in with my boyfriend four months ago. Since then it has come to my attention that he stays up all night most nights playing video games. He then proceeds to fall asleep at around 6 or 7 a.m. and is late for work because he will not get up when I try and wake him. He then goes to bed the minute he gets home, at 6 p.m. I am then forced to tiptoe around our small apartment. We have talked about this a lot, and I keep telling him he needs to grow up and start being more responsible. However, he keeps doing it almost every night, and it makes me really angry since I have told him how I feel. I really love him, but I am beginning to worry about the future. I want to marry him; however, I am concerned that this will never change. Please help me figure out a way to make this better.
DEAR MADDENED: You're beginning to worry about the future? I hate to be the one to tell you, but your future is here and it's called "Grand Theft Auto." Think about it this way: These are the good days. You're young, in love, and have just started cohabiting. This could be as good as it gets with this guy.
You shouldn't have to make this better. He should make this better.
I would think that packing your boxes, putting them in a moving van and unloading them in a different home might get his attention; but please don't move out for that reason. Move out because your guy has a very unhealthy lifestyle, and he's clearly more attached to it than to you. (October 2003)
DEAR AMY: I have a question about a guy. We met once and I liked him. He was for real and exactly as he appeared online. A health condition put him into a fragile situation. He is abroad getting therapy and is under a doctor's care. The problem is, how long should I wait for him? We communicate through emails, pictures and videos. He claims he doesn't like to talk on the phone. I would like to talk on the phone. I am getting discouraged waiting for him. It has been a year of computer communication and I am getting tired of it.
DEAR CHALLENGED: I hate to break this to you, but your guy could be living around the corner and married. He could be maintaining similar fiction with many women.
He could be an online predator or a sock puppet.
The fact is, you just don't know who or what he is. You only know what he wants you to know, and not permitting you to speak with him by phone is your first clue that this isn't a relationship, it's an exchange of data. (April 2005)