Dear Miss Emily:

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 2 ½  years; both divorced for about 5 years, now, and we are 40 years old.  He has a 10 year old daughter and we get along great. We are "living together without living together.”  He comes home to my place ever night but one.  In the beginning we talked about marriage, but it's obvious he was just saying what he thought I wanted to hear. Now that it's been over 2 years, I want to know if he plans on getting married again-to me. We are committed to each other and have a healthy relationship. I have brought up marriage and he says he's not ready.  He seemed to be a bit defensive about it, and it seems he is scared and doesn't want to divorce again (neither do I).  I don't want to bring it up any more because he is so uncomfortable talking about it, and I would never want to force him into it.  I just need to know if he does have plans for us to get married and not just buying time because he likes it the way it is. This living together without living together is getting old. What should I do?
Ready t o wed

-----------------------Miss Emily’s advice------------------------

Dear Ready:

First of all, please read some of the advice I’ve given on this issue. Click on relationships-women on the left side of my site.  Find the titles that pertain to commitment. This should make you feel better, because your predictament is not uncommon.  In a perfect world, marriages would work so well, only “until death do us part” would end them.  But in the real world, 50% of the time marriage goes south and the wounds can be deep and, sometimes, never heal. I firmly believe that if all else is going well, getting anxious over this will destroy what you have together. For some women, societal pressure to marry hangs over their heads like a rain-filled cloud. It's as if a voice whispers, “If he loved you, he’d marry you . . .you useless blob of protoplasm!”  In other words, it would be a shame if you did not analysis your own situation and base your decison on that alone.  That said, if marriage is what you want, come hell of high water, set a time limit on how much more you can stand in your present circumstance.  When that limit is up, go to him and tell him that you want a definite marriage commitment.  If he tells you he still isn’t ready and looks as if he’s going to hurl, plan a farewell dinner.  Unless I’m losing my touch, I see no other choices.