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by Abigail Van Buren

Foot-Dragging Boyfriend Puts Engagement on Endless Hold

DEAR ABBY: I'm 28 and have been dating my boyfriend, "Spencer," for 2 1/2 years. We have talked a lot about getting married. We know where we want it to be, who will be in our wedding party and what the theme will be.

A year ago we discussed getting engaged. Spencer said he'd propose "sometime within the next year" and last spring it seemed like he was working up the courage to do it. (He was talking about how happy he was and what he was seeing for our future). Then his best friend got his girlfriend pregnant and told Spencer he was thinking about proposing to her. After that, the idea of us getting married went on the back burner. Spencer stopped talking about us, and I think the reason was he didn't want to step on anyone's toes. (It's why he said he didn't want to get engaged when his sister was getting married.)

How do I bring up the subject without coming off as pushy or selfish? A lot of our friends are in committed relationships. If we put our lives on hold every time one of them gets engaged, we'll be waiting years before it's our turn and we can start a family. I'd appreciate any advice you might have. -- READY TO MOVE FORWARD

DEAR READY: Not knowing your boyfriend, I can't guess why you haven't received the official proposal. It's time to talk turkey with Spencer and ask him exactly why he seems to be stuck at the starting gate. It was considerate of him to postpone your engagement so it wouldn't distract from his sister's wedding plans. But for him to do it again because of his friend's impending fatherhood doesn't seem like a legitimate reason to me.

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