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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Give counseling chance to help

The Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: I’ve been dating a man for over three years. I am generally a happy person and generally have a happy life with him. We had been talking engagement, so he told his friends and family our intentions.

Now, a few months later, things have gotten a little off track, and we started to see a counselor. This – man has now taken back almost everything he had said would happen, but tells me he loves me and that, when we are ready, we’ll get married. I have to “untell” everyone who asks our status, and there are plenty.

I want kids; he wants kids with me as well. He is 15 years my senior and already has two, and I have had to be very flexible to accommodate his life. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for him to accommodate my timetable now, as I don’t want him to be an old father and I am not in my 20s anymore. Am I justified in having a timetable for marriage and children? – Running Out of Time?

You want to be recognized for your efforts to accommodate him. I sympathize.

But how does one tweak the timetable for nursing a relationship back to health? Do you go ahead and have the wedding and kids, and worry about liking each other later? (Rhetorical flourish, not a suggestion.)

Yes, it’s embarrassing to “untell” your good news, it’s hard to adjust your expectations, it’s frustrating to watch time pass. But think like a kid for a second – would you rather have a dad in his 50s, or parents who wish they hadn’t married each other? The latter is life punching you in the gut. The humiliation and frustration you have now are life giving you a wedgie and taking your lunch money.

So be patient, give the counseling a chance. Find out whether you can find peace together, or whether you need to part ways.

Here’s one timetable you can set: You can decide how hard you’re willing to “work” on this relationship, and for how long. Give it your honest and transparent best. If you think it (or he) is stalling, then you owe it to both of you to step back, and at least sample life on your own.

Hi, Carolyn: My son told his “friend” that he liked a girl, and the friend proceeded to ask the girl out the next day. This friend broke up with his girlfriend months before and my son was there for support throughout his ordeal, and this is the way he pays him back? I’m trying to get my son to stand up for himself – he just wants to let it go. I say the friend has shown his true colors and it’s time to cut him loose or at the very least give him hell. They are both 20 and have been friends since high school. – N.

You’ve said your piece. Now, it’s up to your son to figure things out for himself.

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