DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing my boyfriend, "Casey," for a year. He has said throughout our courtship that we could get married in four to five years.
Over the past couple of months, he has become distant and less romantic. I drive four hours to see him almost every week, and he seems fine then, but when we're apart, he rarely texts me and seems disinterested.
On one of my recent visits, Casey said he never wants to get married! When I asked what had changed his mind, his response was that he has decided that marriage is a trap. When I asked if he still wanted to be with me, he said yes.
I know I don't want to be Casey's girlfriend forever. I don't want to waste my time if he's not going to marry me, but I really want to be with him. Do you think he'll change his mind again, or is it time for me to end things? -- WAITING AND HOPING IN MARYLAND
DEAR WAITING AND HOPING: If you're doing all of the four-hour commuting, you're not only waiting and hoping, you are also doing most of the work in your relationship with Casey. From your description of his attention span, when you're out of sight, you are not on his mind.
You didn't mention how old you both are, but it appears Casey has some growing up to do. Marriage isn't a trap; it's a partnership. And like any strong partnership there is commitment involved. If Casey isn't up to making a commitment and marriage is what you're after, you should save the wear and tear on your car and the expense of the gas and find a man who is less gun-shy.
DEAR ABBY: We live near my wife's sister "Bree" and her husband, "Joe." We socialize often at one of our homes or at a restaurant. They have recently become good friends with another couple, the "Russells," who are delightful.
Bree and Joe sometimes invite us over when the Russells are there. The problem is, when I try to carry on a conversation with Mr. Russell, Joe gets bent out of shape. He interrupts and changes the subject or says something to make me look bad. If that doesn't stop the discussion, Joe walks off in a huff. I think he's acting like an immature middle-schooler. (It also triggers memories I have of being bullied and excluded as a child.)
I'd like to avoid these three-couple get-togethers, but I don't know how many times I can do it without raising questions. An alternative would be to avoid the Russells and converse only with other guests who may be present. Either option, or mentioning it, risks making me look like the jealous 12-year-old instead of Joe. Any ideas? -- ODD MAN OUT IN KANSAS
DEAR ODD MAN OUT: It appears that your brother-in-law is insecure, or he wouldn't behave the way he is. How sad -- for him.
Start limiting the time you spend as a threesome. Ask your wife to find out in advance if the Russells will be visiting when you are. If Bree asks her why, your wife should tell her that Joe seems upset when you try to carry on a conversation with the husband and you don't want to make him uncomfortable. Perhaps if she tells her husband to knock it off and grow up, he will. However, if the problem continues, explain to the Russells that as much as you enjoy their company, you'll be seeing them less often, and why.
It isn't necessary to mention to any of them the grief you experienced in middle school because, frankly, it is none of their business. If it's any comfort to you, it appears Joe had insecurities back then, too, but he never outgrew them.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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