Father-to-be no longer wants to wed after two-year engagement

Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 31, 2007 at 9:50 p.m.

Dear Abby: Please help me. I am very confused. I am four months' pregnant and have been engaged for two years. My fiance's father asked him the other day when we were going to get married, and he looked at his father and said he no longer believes in marriage.

I don't know what to do. My fiance says he loves me and wants to be with me and the baby when it's born, but he isn't saying he wants to get married anymore after all this time. It's almost as if he is taking back the words "I love you."

Please tell me what to do.

Hurt Beyond Words,

Alberta, Canada

Dear Hurt Beyond Words: Start by having a calm discussion with your "fiance" about when he had his change of heart. Whether he marries you or not, he has a financial responsibility to his child. Then ask yourself if this is the kind of life you want to be living in 10 years or so.

Marriage carries with it certain protections, advantages and guarantees. Examples: If he were to become seriously ill, who would make medical decisions for him? If he were to die, who would inherit his property? If this man loves you, does he not want you and his child to be legally protected?

Your next step is to discuss the legal implications with a lawyer, because even if this man doesn't want to protect you, you must ensure that your child will be provided for.

Dear Abby: I am 33 and have been dating "Lauren" for three years. I saw a great future together -- that is, until my parents decided they hated Lauren and refused to meet her. My parents are unreasonable and judgmental. They say I should marry a "family-oriented" girl who meets their qualifications.

I moved back home after college and have had relationships, but never married. Having no siblings, I have always been super close with my parents, but they are doing everything in their power to destroy my relationship with Lauren and control me.

We can't communicate respectfully about this because they claim that "desperation" has caused me to "settle" and accuse Lauren of turning me against them. Although they say they want me to be happy with a family and to make my own decisions, they have informed me that they will not attend our wedding, nor be a part of our lives.

Lauren and I get along well and love each other. She is willing to start all over with them and forget what has happened, but they still refuse to meet her. I feel that I am still the only person who can determine what "qualifications" are important to me in a life partner, but my parents are forcing me to make a choice. Should I continue trying, or move on?

On The Spot in New Jersey

Dear On The Spot: It is possible that your parents are so emotionally fixated on you, their only child, who moved back home after college, that they are having problems "letting go." I find it sad that they have drawn a line in the sand.

Before you "move on," please consider family counseling for you and your parents. A licensed psychotherapist might be able to help you all communicate better, and help them to recognize that the more they attempt to control you, the further they are pushing you away. I am also recommending premarital counseling for you and Lauren, because after you marry, she may encounter significant in-law problems.Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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