DAUGHTER AND BOYFRIEND ARE SLOW TO EMBRACE THEIR FUTUREDEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Renee," is 25 and is an intelligent and independent woman with a good job. She has been in a relationship with her boyfriend, "Bryan," for 6 1/2 years. They have been living together for the past two years.
Bryan is nice and has a decent job, and I like him. However, there is virtually no conversation between them about what their future together holds. Renee would like to get engaged, but she refuses to bring anything up to Bryan for fear that he will feel "pushed." She wants it to happen with no prodding. I maintain that it's perfectly acceptable to ask where he sees their relationship going.
At this point, I'd like to take Bryan aside and say that I love my daughter and would like to know what his intentions are. Is that totally inappropriate in this day and age? I worry she may be throwing away her best years on a dead-end relationship.
I know Renee would not be happy if I approached Bryan with this. Should I just keep my mouth shut and let her handle it? -- MAMA ON A MISSION
DEAR MAMA: You are well-meaning, but this is one mission your daughter must complete for herself. Please tell her that after a relationship of six years -- and living together for two of them -- having a rational discussion with Bryan would not be "pushy." In fact, it's the intelligent thing to do. He may have commitment issues. Or he may need the "nudge." And frankly, if the romance is leading nowhere, Renee needs to know that an engagement to him is not in her future before she invests any more time.
DEAR ABBY: My niece is engaged to a really nice guy who is obviously gay and in denial because of his religion. My brother and his wife ignore it because, according to them, being gay is a "sin." This couple has been out of high school for two years. They are also both virgins, which is unusual.
I had a gathering at my home, and some gay friends attended. They noticed that he was gay and mentioned it to me. Should I just stand by and keep my mouth shut? -- UNSURE IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR UNSURE: Yes, you should. Unless you are 100 percent sure the man is, in fact, gay, you should keep your feelings to yourself. Your niece's fiance may be an effeminate straight man. And your gay friends' "gaydar" may have given them a false reading at your gathering.
DEAR ABBY: I have developed a horrible crush on my kids' tennis instructor. I am very happily married and would never, ever cheat on my husband, but this man makes my heart race. My kids and I spend a fair amount of time with him, and I'm afraid it's starting to show.
By the way, I'm pretty sure my feelings are reciprocated. What to do? -- CRUSHING MOM IN THE SOUTH
DEAR CRUSHING MOM: It's not a question of what you should do, but rather what you should not do. Do not act on your feelings, do not spend time alone with him and do not tell anyone about it. Enjoy feeling like you are 16, and take your kids home after their lesson. In time, the feeling will fade -- particularly if they develop an interest in another sport.
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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