DEAR ABBY: I'm 50 and my boyfriend, "Ray," is 55. We have been together for 11 years. He's divorced with two children. I am single and childless. We owned our own homes until a year ago, when we sold them and bought a house together. We each pay half the bills including the mortgage. We love each other, get along great, have similar values and can't imagine not being together.
My problem is I want to get married. Ray does, too, but his 20-year-old daughter isn't ready for it yet. She and I get along fine, but she gets very stressed and cries when the topic is mentioned. I told Ray I think she has learned from her childhood that crying enables her to get her way. But Ray insists she has anxiety issues, and he's afraid she will hurt herself if we get married. I say we should just do it and hope that, eventually, she accepts it.
Counseling is out of the question for her. She won't go. Ray and I did go for advice about this. The counselor agreed that his daughter needs counseling, but we can't "make" her go. My question is, is Ray ever going to marry me? Any suggestions on what we should do? -- CONFUSED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR CONFUSED: If Ray waits for his daughter's blessing, it may take another 11 years for her to give it -- if she ever does. You and Ray should get more counseling to help him find the strength to stop allowing his troubled daughter to rule his life.