Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I have been to­gether for al­most 10 years. I am 28 and he is 26. I never re­ally pushed the idea of get­ting mar­ried or hav­ing kids.

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Amy Dick­in­son Send ques­tions via e-mail to or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michi­gan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

Lately, though, it’s all I can think about. When I ask him things like, “When do you think we will get mar­ried?” he does things like roll his eyes, and says things like, “Pretty soon, I guess, since women are never sat­is­fied with any­thing.”

When he says these kinds of things it re­ally hurts and makes me think I’m just not good enough. I’ve al­ways been pa­tient about this sub­ject be­cause of our age dif­fer­ence, but it’s start­ing to bother me.

I don’t want him to feel ob­li­gated to marry me, but I don’t want to waste any more time not know­ing if we are in the same place. It’s hard for me to talk to him about my feel­ings.

Am I be­ing un­rea­son­able? Should I just wait it out? Should we break up? We don’t have chil­dren, and we don’t have a joint bank ac­count. I’m just so con­fused.— Wait­ing

Dear Wait­ing: I, now, have a ques­tion for you: Why are you so in­ter­ested in form­ing a per­ma­nent re­la­tion­ship with some­one who doesn’t seem to re­spect you?

You have been with this man for 10 years, which means you’ve been with him for al­most half of your life. I gather this is pos­si­bly your first-ever re­la­tion­ship.

It is com­pletely nor­mal for you to want to be mar­ried and for­mal­ize your fam­ily at your age and stage in life. Plus — in life, you get to want what you want. Don’t apol­o­gize for it. Don’t let your guy gaslight you into be­liev­ing that you are be­ing un­rea­son­able.

You could force a choice by is­su­ing an ul­ti­ma­tum, but then, of course, you would be box­ing him in. If he ca­pit­u­lates, he might then make you pay for this for the en­tirety of your re­la­tion­ship.

Break­ing up would be your straight­est path to get­ting what you de­serve: a re­la­tion­ship with some­one who loves, re­spects and wants to build a fu­ture with you.

Dear Amy: When my son was pre­par­ing to pro­pose to his then wife, he asked if there were any “fam­ily jew­els.”

As it turns out, there was a di­a­mond that had been cho­sen with the help of my grand­fa­ther, who had been in the jew­elry busi­ness, and given to my mother by my fa­ther.

My par­ents later di­vorced so my mother gen­er­ously of­fered this di­a­mond to my son.

My son’s mar­riage lasted for four years. The bride has re­mar­ried. My son would like her to re­turn the ring but knows it is legally hers.

Is there any eti­quette for a sit­u­a­tion such as this when there is a sentimental at­tach­ment? — In the Fam­ily

Dear Fam­ily: State laws gov­ern whether en­gage­ment and wed­ding rings are mar­i­tal prop­erty (jointly owned by the cou­ple) or sep­a­rate prop­erty (owned solely by the re­cip­i­ent).

Your daugh­ter-in-law should of­fer to re­turn the di­a­mond to your son. This is some­thing he could have stip­u­lated (with the help of his lawyer) and ne­go­ti­ated with her be­fore the di­vorce was fi­nal.

As­sum­ing there are no chil­dren from the mar­riage for her to even­tu­ally pass this ring to, at this point, your son should sim­ply ask her if she would re­turn this sentimental stone. If she re­fuses, he could of­fer to buy it from her.

Dear Amy: I com­pletely dis­agree with your re­sponse to “Fu­ri­ous.” Fu­ri­ous was up­set be­cause his hus­band was pre­vented from baby-sit­ting his baby nephew be­cause the child’s par­ents were wor­ried about sex­ual abuse.

I saw lots of red flags there, too. What kind of un­cle vis­its a baby twice a week and wants to baby-sit? — Fu­ri­ous at You

Dear Fu­ri­ous: Par­ents have the ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bil­ity for choos­ing who can care for their chil­dren. But there are lots of good men out there who love chil­dren ev­ery bit as much as women do. This un­cle’s de­sire to spend time with his nephew didn’t strike me as strange.

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