Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Amy Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: I have been with my boyfriend for three years. He’s my best friend and I truly be­lieve he’s the love of my life. We gen­uinely like spend­ing time to­gether and our sex life is great!

I just have one is­sue: I feel like we are on dif­fer­ent pages when it comes to when we want to get mar­ried.

I would like to be mar­ried some­time in the near fu­ture. He talks about mar­riage like it’s a very dis­tant thing. I have tried to talk to him about this. He says that he can’t wait to be­gin that chap­ter of our lives, but he doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to do that.

We are only 20, but are from a small South­ern town where it is not un­com­mon for high school sweet­hearts to be mar­ried and even have a child by now. I don’t want to come off as pushy or des­per­ate when we talk about this, but I get ir­ri­tated with our dis­cus­sions about mar­riage be­cause they never an­swer my ques­tions and con­cerns.

I need ad­vice on how to han­dle this and talk about it in ways to get an­swers from him with­out sound­ing pushy. Is this just immaturity on his part, or could this be a big­ger is­sue?

Am I let­ting this get to me too much? I get jeal­ous — in­stead of ex­cited — when I hear about peo­ple get­ting en­gaged and mar­ried.

Dear In Love: I do be­lieve that immaturity is an is­sue here, but you are the one who is be­ing im­ma­ture.

One rea­son some cou­ples marry and have chil­dren very young is be­cause they be­long to a faith sys­tem or cul­ture that frowns on pre­mar­i­tal sex. This pro­hi­bi­tion can some­times urge peo­ple to­ward the al­tar.

An­other rea­son some cou­ples marry young is if they are go­ing into the mil­i­tary. Nei­ther of these fac­tors seem at play in your case, and so it seems to me that your boyfriend is be­hav­ing ra­tio­nally, and you are tak­ing his an­swer (he’s not ready), but re­ject­ing it be­cause it is not what you want to hear.

Here’s one idea: Ask your boyfriend to get en­gaged now, and set your wed­ding date for ei­ther six months af­ter your 23rd birth­day; or for af­ter ei­ther of you grad­u­ates from a de­gree or cer­tifi­cate pro­gram and/or has been work­ing full time for one year.

Once you have locked that down, your jeal­ousy to­ward oth­ers should sub­side, and you can talk freely and frankly about your fu­ture with­out seem­ing too “pushy.”

Dear Amy: I have rosacea, a skin dis­ease that can flare up and cause an ex­tremely red rash on my face. I have it un­der con­trol with top­i­cal med­i­ca­tions, but the side ef­fect is that I look like I’ve re­cently been at the beach ly­ing in the sun.

I live in a rainy cli­mate with lim­ited op­por­tu­nity for sun ex­po­sure, so peo­ple will of­ten re­mark to me, “Looks like you got some sun! Va­ca­tion?”

I find my­self strug­gling with a re­sponse. I know they think they’re giv­ing me a com­pli­ment, so I don’t want to em­bar­rass them by say­ing that I have a skin dis­ease.

On the other hand, I don’t want them to think I’ve been go­ing to a tan­ning sa­lon, nor do I want them to think I’ve been on some ex­otic va­ca­tion that I can’t af­ford on my teacher’s salary. — Teacher

Dear Teacher: I don’t think you’re nec­es­sar­ily em­bar­rass­ing some­one to cor­rect their as­sump­tion, es­pe­cially if they’ve of­fered it up to a stranger.

I as­sume that be­cause you are a teacher, you have many en­coun­ters with many dif­fer­ent peo­ple — both adults and chil­dren.

If some­one re­marks that you look like you’ve been in the sun, you could re­spond, “I WISH. This is just the way my skin gets some­times.” Also con­sider that if you sim­ply say, “I have rosacea — the med­i­ca­tion makes my skin red,” in a neu­tral way, no one would take of­fense.

Dear Amy: I agree with you (and oth­ers) that charg­ing rent to adult chil­dren is a good way to teach life skills, es­pe­cially if those chil­dren are work­ing.

My grand­mother added a twist. She charged my fa­ther rent for sev­eral years, then turned around and gave the rent back to my fa­ther and mother as a wed­ding gift. Wise woman — teach­ing life skills and mod­el­ing gen­eros­ity. — Grate­ful

Dear Grate­ful: I’ve heard from many read­ers shar­ing this wise and prac­ti­cal tech­nique.

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