Too young for marriage?
Dear Annie: I recently broke up with my boyfriend of two years. I had been having doubts for a few months and one night he took me out for a surprise picnic. On the way to the picnic, I thought he was going to propose and the only thought I had was: "How do I tell him no?"
We had a great relationship, but I'm not sure he's the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I miss him and feel lonely, but I recognize those feelings don't mean I'm totally in love with him. My friends say he took the breakup really hard and has been doing poorly since. I feel horrible about it, but I want to be sure I marry "the one."
We have talked since then and he wants to get back together, but I'm not convinced. I'm only 21 and want to experience things myself. He says we can do them together. Did I make the right choice? Should I go back to him? — Confused in Nebraska
Dear Nebraska: We can't tell you if he's "the one." Most relationships aren't that black-andwhite. However, we can see that you aren't ready to get married. You understand that you are young, that you want to experience things on your own, and that you'd like to play the field a bit more. All of these reasons are quite sensible and we commend you for recognizing that you need more time.
No one should feel rushed to marry. It is possible you will discover down the road that your ex-boyfriend is really the guy for you, and (if he is still available) you can commit to him with more confidence. And if he's not the right guy, you will be happy to have let him go.
Dear Annie: My husband retired 10 months ago after 45 years of hard work and a great deal of traveling away from home.
Since his retirement, my inlaws have been hounding him to do their home maintenance projects for free. Visiting them is a four-hour drive, and he'd have to find a place to stay because his parents don't have any extra room. He also has to buy his own meals.
He really doesn't want to do this. The last project he did for them took twice as long as it was supposed to because they kept interrupting him to talk about their dogs and grandchildren. My husband has his own projects that he wants to complete.
So now his parents are mad and keep leaving messages about what they want done. Please help. — Need an Island
Dear Need: First of all, this is your husband's problem to fix, not yours. Don't try to run interference for him or reinforce the idea that his parents are taking advantage. It seems to us that they want his company, as well as his expertise. How often does he visit otherwise? This could be their way of ensuring his presence.
If he chooses to continue helping, please be supportive. And should he decide not to do so, he needs to be the one to tell them. Your best bet is to stay neutral. But you might suggest he look into hiring someone to work on these projects, and it might even be worth his while to help finance them.