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by Abigail Van Buren

Romantic Wedding Dreams Dim in Tug-of-War Over Marriage

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Pierre," and I have been a couple for 18 months. We moved in together three months ago.

The trouble is, Pierre is French, and he doesn't believe in marriage. He says it's an "outdated institution and a social construct." He also claims that no one in France gets married.

My parents are very religious, and they do not support us living in sin. They say if we have a child out of wedlock, they will cut me off completely.

What should I do? I love my family, but I also love Pierre. And I've always dreamed of having a romantic wedding with my father walking me down the aisle. I know Pierre is committed to me, but he dislikes the institution of marriage and won't budge on this. I'm 34 and my biological clock is ticking. Any advice will be appreciated. -- CONFLICTED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CONFLICTED: Pierre has given you fair warning and so have your parents. Marriage exists in France just as it does here in the USA. That Pierre doesn't believe in it should be an indication that the two of you have very different definitions of what a committed relationship is, and it may be partly cultural in nature. How do you feel about that?

I think it's sad that the parents of a 34-year-old woman would threaten to cut her off if she decided to have a child without being married. If you can support one, that choice should be yours and not theirs. My advice is to stop dreaming about a romantic wedding with your father walking you down the aisle unless you can find a man with a different view of commitment than Pierre appears to have.

P.S. I once had a poodle named Pierre. He and I got along fine and marriage was never discussed.