DEAR ABBY: I am 20 and have been with my boyfriend, "Griffin," for five years. He recently gave me a beautiful promise ring. I would like to spend the rest of my life with him, but I think I have a problem.
I am going to become an adoption professional, and I plan on adopting one day. Griffin knows I'm pursuing this career and that I want to adopt, but I don't think he understands how serious I am about it. We don't plan on being married until after college, when we'll both be 25.
How do I let him know I'm serious about this? I don't want to wait five more years and find he's not on the same page and that I wasted my time. When I try to discuss it, Griffin says we're "too young to think about it." What do I say to that? -- MAPPING OUT MY FUTURE IN L.A.
DEAR MAPPING: It appears you are more mature than your boyfriend. Because you are determined to eventually adopt a child, I agree that it's important for you to know whether Griffin has any negative feelings about adoption because some people are unable to accept a child who is not their own. The next time he says you're too young to think about such things, explain that.
There is a vast difference between a "promise ring" and a little gold band. Because Griffin presented you with a promise ring is no guarantee that in five years the two of you will make it to the altar together. You may need to be with someone who, like you, is more geared to mapping out a future and wants to settle down.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Annie," is a single mother, holds a full-time job and trains for triathlons. Her son, "Cooper," is 3. Annie has him enrolled in day care from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. every day while she's at work. Afterward, she picks up Cooper from day care and checks him into the gym's child care service while she works out.
I have offered to pick my grandson up from day care once a week and keep him until Annie finishes her workout. My other daughter has offered to pick him up twice a week so he can play with his cousin at her house.
Annie has become defensive. She says we're offering because we think she's neglecting him. Actually, I do think so. It breaks my heart that my grandson spends 12 hours a day in day care. Do you agree with me? What should I do? -- WORRIED GRANNY IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR WORRIED GRANNY: Annie may be defensive because she feels some guilt, or because you need to become a better actress and transmit less disapproval.
Apologize to her if that will smooth things over. Explain that you would like Cooper to spend time with you because you love him and want him to develop warm childhood memories of his grandmother. Tell Annie that her sister wants him to spend time with his cousin so they will have a closer bond when they're older. Then cross your fingers and hope she'll accept the offers.
DEAR ABBY: What is your definition of a committed relationship? -- TRYING FOR ONE IN TEXAS
DEAR TRYING: A committed relationship is one in which both parties agree that it will remain mutually exclusive.
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