DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Ross" for 13 years. We have never lived together. Shortly before I met him, his business fell on hard times. We agreed (I thought) that once he was financially back on his feet, we'd get married. Well, it's been almost two years since his financial recovery and still no proposal.
Last Christmas, he asked me what I wanted. I told him, "an engagement ring." Needless to say, I didn't get one. When I asked him why, he said he has become disenchanted with marriage. Then he talked about actress Goldie Hawn and producer/actor Kurt Russell's long relationship -- very happily unmarried. Many of Ross' friends and family are either going through divorces or are unhappily married. But I don't understand what this has to do with us. Why should I be penalized?
I have never pressured Ross about marriage. I thought it was only a matter of time. He says he loves me, there's no other woman, and I believe him.
We are still seeing each other exclusively, and I don't want anyone else. But something is missing. We're not "complete." I find myself getting upset with him over many little things. I can't let go of the hurt and disappointment. Am I to blame for allowing this to drag on without a solid commitment from him? What do you think, Abby? -- UNHAPPILY SINGLE IN CINCINNATI
DEAR UNHAPPILY SINGLE: I don't blame you for feeling hurt and disappointed. Ross may be afraid of commitment and is unwilling to take on the legal and financial responsibilities of marriage. Regardless of the reason, what is missing from this relationship is his willingness to make a legal commitment.
There's an old saying, "If you're looking for trout, don't go fishing in a herring barrel." If it's marriage you desire, stop hanging onto a man who is disenchanted with the institution and find one whose values are more in keeping with yours.