DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of three years wants me to move in with him. He’s a great guy. He’s loving and affectionate, kind and caring. We want the same things for our kids and have quite a few things in common. We enjoy playing sports, and we’re both foodies. He checks a lot of my boxes, so I know I’m ready for marriage.
We both have kids. He has a 10-year-old girl; I have a 4-year-old boy. He has asked me multiple times to move in with him, but I’d like to be engaged or married before doing so. He wants us to live together first because my relationship with his daughter hasn’t flourished. He’d also like to build a trusting relationship with my son, which I understand and find equally important.
He says we must live together before he proposes to me because we need to work on our finances and careers, etc. He has now given me an ultimatum — either I move in, or he moves on. What am I to do? Am I asking for too much? — COERCED IN FLORIDA
DEAR COERCED: I don’t think it’s too much to want a commitment from your loving, affectionate, rigid and controlling boyfriend before moving in with him. “Move in or I’m dumping you” doesn’t seem particularly “loving” to me — it seems more like emotional blackmail.
Tell him you have concerns because your relationship with his daughter — after three years — “hasn’t flourished.” Does she live with him? Things won’t improve if your presence is forced on her. From where I sit, it appears he wants to “try you on for size” with absolutely no commitment on his part. If you do what he’s demanding, there is no guarantee he will ever propose marriage. Move on.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a retired married man. My sister, who is four years younger, was recently widowed. She was married for a long time to an abusive alcoholic who eventually drank himself to death. Sometime later, she married a friend of hers who I suspect was also abusive. He died a year ago, leaving her with almost nothing.
Because of differences in our political and spiritual beliefs, my sister and I are not close. She tends to be very defensive in conversation and emails. However, my wife and I have been thinking we’d like to give her something monetarily so she could be more comfortable. It wouldn’t be a single gift on our part, or a large amount. We feel it would be best if given on a weekly or monthly basis.
How should I approach my sister about it? There will be no strings attached, just a regularly given amount to do with however she wants. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated. — NOT CLOSE, BUT CARING
DEAR NOT CLOSE: You are caring, thoughtful and generous. It is a shame that political differences have driven a wedge between you and your sister. Because she “tends to be defensive” when the two of you make contact, ask your attorney to write her a letter explaining that you and your wife are doing some “estate planning” and you wish to give her a certain sum of money each week (or month) to use as she wishes. If she’s interested, she should contact the attorney so the arrangements can be made.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.