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DEAR ABBY: I'm a 24-year-old woman and have been in a committed relationship with "Max" for six years. He proposed four years ago and I told him I wanted to marry him, except I wasn't ready at that time.
The years have gone by, and we have flourished as a couple. Most people would swear that we're already married. However, I have been worrying lately that I might have blown my chance for another proposal. Max doesn't mention marriage anymore except if I initiate conversation with a related topic. Some of our mutual friends are now engaged and Max has made no comment on the future of OUR relationship. He seems content in our current state.
I feel silly for wanting to be proposed to again, but it is important to me. I don't want to be pushy and force Max into it. Should I talk to him about it or wait it out and see?
- Hopeful future bride in Nevada
DEAR HOPEFUL: Max is not a mind reader. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so if you want a second proposal, squeak up and tell him so. Because you put him off before, he may think you are still not ready for further commitment.
DEAR ABBY: I can't believe I'm actually writing to you, but I need an answer to this question. What is the time limit for acknowledging someone's attendance at a memorial service?
My mother passed away nine months ago. Our relationship had not been an easy one. She had been ill, but the end came very quickly. My youngest sister had died two years before.
To make a long story short, I went into a total meltdown. Life just stopped for me. Would it be appropriate to "come clean" and tell everyone that I was grossly overwhelmed (an understatement) with my grieving, or should I just send a short acknowledgment, thanking them for the time they took to attend my mother's memorial?
- Wondering in West Virginia
DEAR WONDERING: Grief is an individual process. No two people grieve exactly alike, and most of us understand that. It is never too late to say thank you, and if you include an explanation with your acknowledgment, it would be appreciated.
DEAR ABBY: I am sending out our annual Christmas cards. I do not want to include my husband's name on them this year. We haven't spoken to each other in two years. We still occupy the same house - but thank God it's large so we don't have to see each other often. We have a son away at college. Please tell me it is OK.
- Married and not, Albany, N.Y.
DEAR MARRIED AND NOT: If you follow your impulse and omit your husband's name from the cards, it will be like announcing that he is dead or that you have separated. While I sympathize with you, do not omit his name unless you are prepared to answer the questions that will surely follow. If you're ready to "make an announcement," then do as you wish.