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by Abigail Van Buren

Sister Is Left Out of the Loop When Family Visits Her Town

DEAR ABBY: I've always been very independent and haven't had many serious relationships in my 34 years of life. For the last two years, I have been in a healthy relationship with a man who is kind, smart and makes me feel like I can be myself.

On our first anniversary, although we had never talked about marriage, he surprised me with a proposal. I didn't feel the excitement and joy that I had always pictured myself feeling when this moment finally happened to me. We haven't set a wedding date, nor am I thrilled about getting married.

I love this person and appreciate him, but I feel like I should be over-the-moon about spending forever with him. Do these blase feelings mean this isn't the right person for me, or that I'm simply not ready for the next step? -- BEWILDERED MOUNTAIN GIRL

DEAR GIRL: Real life isn't like it is portrayed in the movies and on television. There is no cookie-cutter reaction to receiving a proposal. Many women would be thrilled to receive a proposal of marriage from a man who is kind, smart and with whom they can be themselves. (I am not implying that this should be you.)

My recommendation is that you two have a long engagement as well as premarital counseling, so you can both determine what's important to you and if you are on the same page. Frankly, these discussions should have started well before a proposal.