DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a divorced mother of two. My children are both in college, so I live alone during the year, and they come back for the summer. I met a great man a little less than two years ago. We have been dating for a year and a half and recently went on vacation together. While we were on vacation, he proposed to me. I was panicked and completely caught off guard, so I said yes. We hadn't spoken much about marriage, and I certainly did not see it on the horizon for myself. I didn't want to ruin what we have. I love most of his family, and his children are amazing.
I feel like everything is happening too quickly. Everyone is asking when I'm marrying a man I haven't even known for two years! I want to calm down the hubbub, but I don't want to ruin our relationship. I can't break off our engagement, right? I just don't know how to go about integrating our families, sorting living situations -- my oldest was supposed to move in with me after college -- and meshing traditions. -- New Older Bride, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR NEW OLDER BRIDE: Rather than breaking off the engagement, start the conversation about what your life will look like together. Talk it out over as much time as needed. Admit to your beau that you hadn't really thought about marriage, and when he asked, your knee-jerk reaction was to say yes. In order to build a life together, though, you two have to sort out how and where you will live. Don't feel pressured to walk down the aisle until you figure it out.