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Timing is an issue for couple wanting to start their family

DEAR ABBY: My fiance, “Bradley,” is the man of my dreams. We have been together three years, live together and have a dog. Brad is in his early 30s, and I’m turning 30 this year.

We decided on a long engagement so we could enjoy the planning process. Our wedding is scheduled for next year. We both work hard and live comfortably. But we struggle now and then to make ends meet, especially around the holidays, although it’s nothing we can’t resolve by cutting back a bit.

The issue: I am ready for a child. He wants to wait until we have been married for at least two years. He feels it would require a lot of financial and lifestyle sacrifice that he doesn’t want to make right now.

I understand where he’s coming from because I felt the same way for a while. But lately, I have this overpowering sense of readiness and yearning to become a mother. No matter what I do to suppress this instinct, I am more and more heartbroken every day knowing this reality is so far away.

How should I cope with this? I am becoming more and more depressed. Should I confront my fiance? Maybe do couples counseling? Brad is always willing to listen, but I don’t think he understands how it feels. — FUTURE MOMMY IN RHODE ISLAND

DEAR FUTURE MOMMY: Because you and your fiance are not on the same page regarding this issue, couples counseling could be helpful. However, because you are becoming increasingly frustrated and depressed, also discuss these feelings with your physician. If you are worried about your biological clock, women have options today that weren’t available in years past, and you and Brad may want to explore them.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 69-year-old divorcee who was married for 48 years. The last 25 years were very lonely. There were no intimate relations, hugs or kisses, and we slept in separate bedrooms. After I retired, I learned my husband had been cheating on me for God knows how long, possibly 20 years.

After our divorce, I was finally persuaded to do some online dating, which has been quite an adventure, both positive and negative! I am currently happy in an exclusive year-long relationship, but because I have been out of the dating world for almost half a century, I am confused by the new rules.

My boyfriend sometimes expects me to share the cost of what we do, whether it be restaurant, movies, golf, airline tickets, etc. My mother taught me that the gentleman always pays, so please give me current advice about present-day dating etiquette, if you would be so kind. — CURRENT IN TEXAS

DEAR CURRENT: What your mother taught you WAS true in her day. However, because women are now in the working world, have incomes of their own, and are on a more equal par with men, they now share some or all of those expenses. Much depends upon the financial disparity between the two. This is an important subject you should discuss with your gentleman friend to see if you can agree on an arrangement that’s comfortable for both of you.

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DEAR ABBY: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half. We’re both 30, and we have pretty much decided to tie the knot. The only thing holding me back is his hygiene.

When we met, he wasn’t all that into showering and using deodorant. Slowly, over time, he has started to shower daily and wear deodorant, but he still doesn’t brush his teeth.

His apartment is my biggest nightmare. It is filled with opened delivery boxes, there are beard trimmings all over the bathroom, a pink ring of death in his shower, and his stovetop — well, you get the point.

Should I mention that I’m one of the cleanest people I know? I grew up with well-dressed, great-smelling men in my life. They’re the walking, talking real-life versions of a men’s fashion commercial.

Is this a make-or-break situation? We get along in so many other ways. — HYGIENE’S THE PROBLEM

DEAR H.T.P.: I’m glad you asked. Yes, this is a make-or-break situation, and it needs to be resolved before you sign up with this “cellmate” for life. While I appreciate his making the effort to shower as a step in the right direction, his lack of attention to his dental health is a cause for worry. Decaying teeth and periodontal disease can cause serious health problems — including heart issues — later in life and may be related to Alzheimer’s disease.

If you think his living conditions are a turn-off now, consider how they’ll affect you if you marry him. He either never learned or doesn’t care to pick up and clean up after himself. That task will be all yours. If you really love him, draw the line now, and perhaps it will put him on the right path. Better late than never.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of several years financially supports his parents for cultural reasons. It was expected of him from an early age because he is the only child, and he intends to support them for the rest of their days.

Not only does he pay their mortgage and provide a sizable monthly allowance, but I have just learned that he is paying off all of the debts his father has accumulated over the years as well. This is in addition to the tens of thousands of dollars in spending money he has given them to visit the homeland every few years. Combine this with his massive school loan repayments and it’s unlikely he will have enough to be able to retire, let alone for us to have children.

I am at the age where if I am going to have kids, it needs to be within the next few years, and it is looking unlikely. I love him dearly, but I’m wondering if I should stay with him, knowing that his parents will eventually need to live with us for the rest of their lives. Even questioning this is making me feel guilty and selfish. (By the way, he has told me he would have proposed by now but couldn’t afford a ring as all of his discretionary income goes to his parents.) Advice? — GETTING RESENTFUL

DEAR RESENTFUL: Have you told your boyfriend how you feel? If you haven’t discussed it with him, you should. He sounds like a caring and dutiful son. However, unless you intend to join him in becoming a childless indentured servant to his parents, end the relationship.

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DEAR ABBY: Recently, my elderly father and his girlfriend threw a wedding for themselves. Invitations were sent with requests that included: dinner was to be a potluck, guests were asked to provide singing and music for the entertainment, and a note was enclosed that read, “In lieu of gifts, a monetary donation for our honeymoon fund would really make our day.”

Now, weeks later, I have found out it was a huge charade. There was no wedding. What do I say to them? More than 50 friends and family attended this joke ceremony. Bear in mind, the bride and groom have been married multiple times before, and I now question the validity of those marriages. — DUPED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR DUPED: If guests traveled a long distance to attend the “wedding” as well as contributed money toward the “honeymoon,” I can see why they would be upset about the fraud. I can also see why in the future the happy couple will have lost credibility and will have trouble attracting a crowd to their next performance.

What should you say to them? If you think anything you might say would shame them, forget it. They are without shame. And if you are invited to another shindig, just say NO.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.