Dear Amy:

I am a 25-year-old female who is financially stable and looking to settle down.

I have been with my live-in boyfriend for nine years. Lately, I have been having second thoughts about our relationship. I pay 90 percent of the bills, and all of his bills are in my name. I have mentioned several times to him that I need more help from him financially. It seems that he does not want to do any better in his life to help me -- or even himself.

We met when we were in high school. He dropped out, and I went on to college. It seems as if I grew up and he never did! I do not know if I should let him go or if we should try to work out our differences. I do love him, but I feel as if he has taken advantage of the situation for too long!

I want to get married soon, but I can't do it if he can't help me out! I am looking for stability at this point in my life, and I don't know if I should stay or leave.

Lost in Love

It's time for the Big Talk. This is the talk in which you lay all your cards, and your bills, on the table.

During the Big Talk, which is bound to be difficult and uncomfortable, you should listen carefully to your guy. He may reveal his feelings to you in a new way, and you need to be emotionally available to really hear what he is saying. It might help for you to script a few of your questions and comments ahead of time, so that you can express yourself in a way that is both rational and respectful. A couples counselor can help make this easier by providing a neutral environment where you both can mediate your differences to see where you stand.

If you two have truly headed off in entirely different directions -- and it sounds as if you have -- then it is time for the next phase of your life to start. At the very least, it is time to disentangle your finances completely. Your guy could ruin your credit.

Dear Amy:

My family and I are moving to a new house. I am going to be a sophomore, and my brother and sister are both going to be freshmen.

In our current house, the bedrooms are all very small. My parents have the master bedroom. My brother has the biggest room (because when we moved in it was the only bedroom that his bunk bed would fit in). I have the medium room, and my younger sister has the smallest bedroom.

In our new house, the bedrooms are all much larger than the bedrooms in our current house.

In my opinion, I should get the biggest room because I am the oldest and I'm leaving in three years to go to college.

My sister says she should have the biggest room because she currently has the smallest room, but my point is that her new room will be larger than her old room -- no matter which room of the new house she gets.

Who is right?

Wondering

I think that your sister should get the largest room because she's the youngest daughter and will have the longest period of time to enjoy it before going off to college. Or I think that your brother should get it because his bunk bed takes up the most space.

Not really. I'm just pointing out that there are all sorts of logical ways to approach this issue. Fortunately, you and your siblings don't have to figure this out all by yourselves. I imagine your parents will have a say in this matter.

If I were your mom, I would gather the three of you together and ask which is the No. 1 favorite bedroom in the new house. Once you agree on the No. 1 room, I would have you all write down your names on slips of paper and then I would draw one out of a paper bag. The person whose name is drawn would get that room. Then we would move on to the second favorite room and draw another name.

Once the names are drawn, the room assignments are binding, okay? No more room squabbles allowed.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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