Dear Abby: The amazing man I want to marry fears commitment

Burned earlier by an ex, he has turned down two proposals from his current girlfriend.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m in love with a man I met online. We have been together three years, and I want us to start talking about our future. He has never been married, but he has been in long-term relationships before.

When would be a good time to discuss this with my boyfriend? How would I approach this discussion? Is there anything else we could do like have a commitment ceremony? He’s afraid of being hurt, which is understandable. His ex used him and led him on for eight years. She would say she loved him but never spent any time with him. She’d also go on trips with other men and wouldn’t invite him. I feel horrible that he was treated that way. What can I do to show him I am not her, and that I’m here for the long haul?

I have asked him to marry me twice. I’m having plastic surgery next month, and I told him that when I’m healed I am going to ask him once more. I’m excited but scared at the same time because I’m afraid he’s going to let his fear get the best of him. How can I put his mind at ease? He’s amazing. He has turned my entire life around, and he’s the one I want to spend my life with. He truly is my one and only. — NERVOUS IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR NERVOUS: This man’s previous girlfriend may have led him on for eight years, but he allowed it. After three years with you, he should know what kind of person you are — the drawbacks as well as your singular attributes. Please do not allow him to do to you what she did to him, which is take up your precious time with no intention of making your relationship permanent.

I see no reason to wait until after your cosmetic surgery unless you are counting on him to take care of you during recovery. As I see it, you have two choices: Tell him you need a commitment and be prepared for him to run, or tolerate the status quo. If he loves you as much as you love him, he shouldn’t run away from the idea of spending his life with you. If he does run, you are better off without him.

DEAR ABBY: I gave a newlywed couple a picnic basket filled with everything you would need for a picnic, including a quilt I had made for them to celebrate their wedding. My husband delivered it to the new husband, and when asked what it was, my husband replied that it was something for HIM.

Well, I have heard nothing more about the gift, especially the quilt! I don’t think the young man ever opened the basket. I did mention something to the wife once about what was inside the basket, and her expression was blank. It has been over a year. Should I forget about it or be bold and ask? — GIFT-GIVER IN NEW YORK

DEAR GIFT-GIVER: Be bold and ask. If the wife looked blank, it was probably because she knew nothing about the gift your husband had told her husband was for “him” instead of for “them.”

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.

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.)

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