Dear Amy:

I am a college-educated, attractive, 30-year-old woman. I've been with my boyfriend, "Franklin," who is 32, for seven years. We have owned a home together for the past three years, and were engaged for a year and a half but called it off last spring. My family and I think he only proposed to me so I would stop "nagging" him about tying the knot.

When we go out with friends, Franklin will ignore me most of the night while he talks to his buddies. He barely talks to me when we are at home. When we ran into one of his co-workers at the mall, she was shocked to learn that he had a girlfriend because he had never mentioned me. I had a brief fling with a co-worker last summer -- somebody who listened to me and treated me with respect. Franklin never found out, but my guilt got the best of me, so I ended it.

All of my friends and his friends are getting married. It is really depressing knowing I have been with him for seven years and have nothing to show for it. I have become a bitter and jealous person, someone I thought I would never become.

I still love Franklin very much, and he can be a dear when he wants to be. He declares he will never marry anyone and never have any children. I'm not getting any younger, and I want to have a family more than anything.

Do I stay with him thinking he will change his mind on marriage, or do I cut my losses now?

Desperate to Be a Bride

Can I choose a third option, in which you cut your losses and also manage to turn back time and get some of your life back?

The way you paint this, he is very much a bad guy and you are the victim. But at some point, your passivity and your choice to stay in a relationship that is not only unsatisfying but also causing you great pain means that you are pretty much getting what you are asking for.

The time to cut your losses would have been five or so years ago. Now it's time to do an emergency "boyfriend-ectomy." That's because the only thing worse than staying in this relationship for seven years would be to stay in it for seven years and a day.

Dear Amy:

A couple of weeks ago I was cleaning out my closet when I found a box of checks from my graduation from eighth grade (which was last year).

I had no idea that checks expire if they are not cashed in six months.

Would it be okay if I asked my aunts and uncles to write a new check for me? How would I ask them?

Checking Up on Checks

You should contact your kin and be honest about what happened. Phone or write them and say, "I'm so embarrassed but you probably noticed that I never cashed your check from last year. I didn't know that checks expired. Would it be too much trouble to ask you to write another check? I'll cash it promptly and put it right into my account."

After asking and receiving, what do you do?

You thank the check-writer. In writing.

(c)2005 by the Chicago Tribune

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