DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I have been together for more than seven years. He is a wonderful man who has a lot of good intentions, but he is a lot of talk and not a lot of action. We moved in together after talking about it for years. We would start to look for apartments together and then he would change his mind. Finally, I was about to go away and I mentioned that while I was gone it would be a good time for him to start moving some things in. When I got home a few days later he was there and he has spent every night since then in our apartment. It was a huge step. We are both over 30. I want to start having children and become more settled. We talk about getting a house, him proposing, etc., but again it’s all talk. All of his friends are married, and I am at a loss. I don’t understand why he won’t propose! We have talked, and fought about it, and he says that he plans for us to get married, but I am concerned that it will never happen. I love him and want to spend my life with him, but I also don’t want to spend another few years waiting for him to commit. Friends and family have told me to give him an ultimatum. Knowing his personality, this will just push him away. I don’t feel able to walk away. I did say that if we were not engaged by the time his youngest brother gets married (this weekend) that I would need to re-evaluate what I’m doing. He has said that he thinks he will propose by the end of the year. How can I communicate this to him in a different way so that he understands?
DEAR WAITING: If you are unwilling to leave this relationship, and also can’t seem to manipulate your guy into proposing, then your remaining option is to propose to him. You successfully got him to move in with you, and that seems to have worked out the way you wanted.
I assume you fear that if you proposed, he might say that he’s not ready, but surely the certainty of that can’t be worse than what you’re currently experiencing. Are you brave enough to take this risk?
Be prepared that unless he changes radically, you may have to always force him toward momentous life events: having children, taking vacations, buying a home and retirement.
DEAR AMY: I am a 56-year-old woman. I married at 36 and have always kept my baptismal name. Everyone knows me as “Patricia J. Clarke.” I never adopted my husband’s name. Recently, we received an invitation to a very good friend’s daughter’s wedding. The invitation was address to “Mr. and Mrs. David Smith.” What is up with that? Is there some law that says you have to address wedding invitations to “Mr. and Mrs.?” When I said to my friend that the only Mrs. Smith I know is my husband’s deceased mother, she laughed at me. I asked her if she was unclear that my name was my own and not my husband’s. She blew me off. Her response ticked me off. I did make sure to write both of our full names out completely on the response card. Given that we have been friends for more than 25 years, she should have shown me more respect. Am I being too sensitive?
DEAR PATTIE: When people are trying very hard to host a formal wedding, they sometimes resort to antiquated practices, such as the father “giving” the daughter away, or inviting married people using the formal style of “Mr. and Mrs.” There is no “law” stating that this is necessary, but it is old-fashioned and, strictly speaking, “correct.”
Like you, I have kept my given name for my whole life, but I think it’s sort of sweet to occasionally be referred to as “Mrs.”
You seem to have responded to this in a way that your friend found embarrassing, which is why she is blowing you off.
DEAR AMY: I was concerned by your answer to “Worried,” about the health and welfare of her husband’s 94-year-old grandmother, “Jenny.” Jenny has every right to live the way she wants to live, no matter what meddling family members think.
DEAR ADVOCATE: You are right. But there are many services and resources available to help people like “Jenny” live alone, but more safely. “Worried” needed to try harder to find them.