Recently it seems like our plan to marry and start a family keeps getting pushed further and further into the future. I'm 35; he's 47. Neither of us has been married or has kids.
I'm beginning to regret having uprooted my life for someone who is unilaterally changing the timing of what I thought we both wanted. How long should I wait before cutting my losses and moving closer to the people I care for and who miss me? — ALONE IN THE DESERT
DEAR ALONE: If you haven't already, it's time to have a conversation with your boyfriend about what your expectations were when you made the move to Arizona. If you want to have children, you will be getting a late start as it is.
Ask him why he wants to postpone your wedding plans beyond what you had agreed upon. He may have cold feet, his friends or relatives may have said they don't care for you — anything is possible. But you deserve straight answers, and if they aren't satisfactory, I see no reason to devote more time to a relationship that isn't working out.
DEAR ABBY: Seven years ago my sister's 19-year-old son was killed in a car accident. After the wake she gave me a heart necklace with some of his ashes. We no longer speak and haven't for four years.
Well, did I get a shock today. I received an email from her asking for it back! She even had my stepmom repeat that message to me. I don't believe she has the right to ask for the necklace. Does she? — BLUE IN TENNESSEE
DEAR BLUE: Because you are no longer speaking, I can understand why your sister might want her son's ashes back. Be a lady; return the necklace to her via registered mail or have your stepmother give it to her. It's regrettable that your relationship with your sister has sunk to this level. Because this was no ordinary gift, understand that if you refuse to return it, your relationship with your sister will be permanently fractured.
DEAR ABBY: So many of your letters involve people having difficulty communicating with others. Here's a safe, honest, straightforward technique for targeting the behavior, sharing feelings and explaining the reasons for those feelings. It is called an "I-Statement" and has three parts: (1) "When you ..." (2) "I feel/felt ..." (3) "Because ..."
I-Statements can be used for the sharing of any and all feelings by kids, teens and adults. Feelings are valid because they are our honest emotions. In addition to giving positive strokes to one another, people can learn to better understand each other and have whole, complete and satisfying resolutions to problems. Try it! — SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST (RETIRED) IN OHIO
DEAR PSYCHOLOGIST: I will! When I received your suggestion about improving communication, I felt grateful that you took the time to share it because it was not only generous of you but also may be helpful to many of my readers. Thank you for sending it.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.