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Living together may end long-distance engagement

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My fiance, “Derrick,” and I have been engaged for almost a year. The whole time we’ve been together he has been overseas. While he has many of the characteristics I look for in a man, he isn’t as down-to-earth as I’d like him to be.

He’s now back in the U.S. for good, and we are living together. Derrick’s a great father to his children, a good provider, intelligent, handsome, and we have a lot in common. I love his family. But for a few months now I have been rethinking my decision to marry him.

I feel like I can’t be myself around him without him judging me or making facial expressions. I have tried telling him how I feel, but I always end up hurting his feelings or he ends up pointing the finger at me.

He’s the best person I have ever met, but I’m not deeply in love with him. He doesn’t bring out the best in me and I don’t know what to do. How should I handle this situation without breaking our engagement?

Ms. Engagedin Florida

Dear Ms. Engaged: You and Derrick might be able to communicate more effectively if you had premarital counseling. However, if it doesn’t resolve your issues, do not marry him, regardless of how handsome he is or what a good provider you think he will be.

To have a successful marriage, you will have to be yourself — and you and Derrick should bring out the best in each other. With help, you may be able to save the relationship. But if counseling doesn’t work, do both of you a favor and become Ms. DIS-engaged.

Dear Abby: My parents split up in 1987. They have just started dating again. What is the likelihood of them remarrying? They are in their 70s.

My concern is, what if they break up? I guess I shouldn’t worry and just appreciate the time I have with them as a new couple starting out again. Are these normal concerns?

Sweet, Caring Daughter,

Sunnyside, Wash.

Dear Caring Daughter: Of course your concerns are normal. You love your folks and don’t want either of them to be hurt if the romance goes off the tracks (again). Because you can’t control what happens next, cross your fingers and hope for a happy outcome. Your parents seem to have a strong connection, and they’re old enough to know what they’re doing. Que sera, sera.

Dear Abby: My stepdaughter, age 18, has recently begun to send her father text messages while we are in the same room, rather than speak to him. It’s as if she doesn’t want me in on the conversation. I find her behavior rude.

If they need to speak privately, so be it — she can wait until I’m out of the room or request to speak to him elsewhere. But I find it impolite of her to send him texts. They are nothing confidential in nature, just general conversation.

What are your thoughts on this?

Bystander in New York

Dear Bystander: What your stepdaughter is doing is as rude as when two people whisper to each other in front of a third person. My thought is that your husband, out of consideration for your feelings, should either tell her — or text her — to cut it out.

Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.