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by Abigail Van Buren

Unhappy Relationship May Be Truth Behind the Lies

DEAR ABBY: I am a 22-year-old college student with plans to graduate in December. I have been dating the same guy for almost five years. He is out of college now and has a steady job.

My problem is that I want to get married. I would even settle for an engagement ring or some sort of promise of marriage after I graduate from college. My boyfriend is 27 years old and keeps saying we'll get married someday (when I bring it up); otherwise, he never mentions it. He says it would be fine if we just lived together because we need to be "soul mates" first.

I used to believe that living together was a good idea, but I don't think so anymore. I truly love this man and want to be his wife.

Please help me, Abby. Am I wasting my time? He says he feels like I'm pressuring him. What should I do? -- RUNNING IN PLACE

DEAR RUNNING: When a man tells you that he feels like you're pressuring him -- trust me, you are pressuring him. Back off. Then tell him you think it might be a good idea if you two cooled it for a while, and maybe if you dated other people you could get a better perspective on your relationship. If he agrees, that's what you should do. If not, say nothing more about marriage until after graduation.