DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of nearly five years and I have been at odds during most of our relationship. We have had religious-based disagreements, arguments over my not giving him enough affection, his not providing financially, possible cheating on his part, and his wanting me to have a better relationship with his mother.
For about a year he has been pressuring me to stop taking birth control pills. I was always adamant about taking them because I do not want to be pregnant before marriage. He claims I am “playing God,” and “I don’t know the potential harm the pills cause.” I don’t think the pills are harming me, and I feel I can do with my body what I please.
When he told me to stop taking birth control, I asked, “When are you going to propose?” He says he’ll marry me once I trust him enough to stop taking the pills and believe he’ll step up to the plate.
I trust that he wants to be with me, but I can’t help but feel he wants me to go against my morals and values and get pregnant before marriage. I see a life for myself, and he doesn’t seem to fit in my vision. I know no one is perfect, but I can’t help but feel we clash on too many issues. Should I be more positive and look at the good things in our relationship and try to ignore the negative? — YOUNG PENNSYLVANIA WOMAN
DEAR WOMAN: If you see a life for yourself beyond this relationship, make up your mind to start living it NOW. Your boyfriend wants you to stop taking birth control pills because once you’re pregnant (oops!) you will be tied to him for life, like it or not.
Step back. View this for a moment from my perspective: Here is someone with whom you have religious-based disagreements, who doesn’t pull his weight financially, whom you can’t trust not to cheat, and who will bring with him a guaranteed mother-in-law problem.
It’s time to do what you should have done years ago. Recognize that you can do much better than this and GET OUT OF THERE.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I live in Washington state. My son and his family live in South Carolina. I have decided I want to move close to my son and grandchildren.
My husband doesn’t want to move there. He has never been to South Carolina, but he has preconceived notions about what the people are like and has decided he wants to stay on the West Coast.
I know what would make me happier, but I’d feel guilty about leaving my husband. We have been married 27 years. (He is my second husband; my first died when we were 36.) My son is from my first marriage.
I need some objective advice. Am I being selfish? Is it wrong for me to want to move to be with my family? — GUILTY ON THE WEST COAST
DEAR GUILTY: You ARE with your family — your husband. Have you explored how your son and his wife would feel about you pulling up stakes and moving there alone? If you haven’t, you should, because they may not be comfortable feeling responsible for you and being your only social outlet.
Since you asked, I think it would be foolish to sacrifice a marriage (I assume a happy one) that has lasted more than a quarter of a century. It’s possible that you could visit your son and grandchildren several times a year without jettisoning your spouse, and because planes fly both ways, they could visit the two of you as well.
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 http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)