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by Abigail Van Buren

Happily Unmarried Woman Can't Take Mom's Nagging

DEAR ABBY: I am in a relationship with someone I graduated from school with, so we have known each other for a number of years. We are both divorced. Because I'm an only child, my mother has always been protective and controlling. She hasn't recovered from my divorce, although it happened more than 10 years ago, and constantly finds fault with my current relationship.

She argues with me almost weekly that I should get married because it "looks bad for her" that I live with this man, and "in the sight of God this isn't right." One minute she doesn't want me in a relationship, the next she's telling me I need to be married. I respect her beliefs, but don't think we should get married just because she wants us to.

I was married long enough to realize that a piece of paper doesn't make it right, so why force the issue? I love my mother, but her nagging is making it extremely difficult not only for me but for my relationship. How do I handle this? -- STRESSED-OUT ONLY CHILD

DEAR STRESSED OUT: You may be an only child, but you are a child no longer. You are entitled to live your life the way you wish.

While there are legal protections for a wife that a live-in does not enjoy, if you prefer not to formalize your relationship, you should not be pressured into it. The next time your mother starts in, tell her firmly you will not argue the point and change the subject.