Dear Miss Emily:

I am  a 34 year-old single mother who has been dating a 41 year-old single man for a little over a year- and-a-half. The relationship started out casually but, then, quickly progressed to a serious monogamous relationship.  He is the first man I have dated since I had my daughter. He has most of the qualities I am looking for in a partner, and I know he loves me and my daughter(she is 5). Because I am a single mother who works full time, my time is limited, but we have made it work. We see each other every day that I work -- we meet for about an hour before I have to be home. This is 4 nights a week. We also usually get one night a week together, when I have a babysitter and I spend the night. Then, about once a week, he comes to my house or my daughter and I go to his house for dinner. The problem is that this set-up is working for him but not for me. I want someone to be my partner. I feel like if it were left up to him, one night a week would suffice. I would like to move forward to the next step. Move in with him, or get married. I feel like a booty call on Saturday nights with a little more thrown in to keep me from leaving. I need him to ask because, if I have to do it, I will never know if he wants us there or if he just feels obligated. My daughter did ask him one night if he was going to marry me and he said "We'll have to work on that." Should I bring the subject up, wait or move on?

----------------Miss Emily's advice--------------

I may be wrong, but I think you have been engaging in a "pity party" for one.  This is why:  Unless he absolutely, unquestionably makes you feel like you are the only one who is sacrificing in this relationship and he is taking advantage of your good nature, the arrangement you have with him is more a routine than a "booty call" with a single mother who has a five year-old. There is no problem in wanting more from this relationship but, unless you ask for it or, at least, express your feelings, what's the point of expecting someone to read your mind when it gets you nowhere.  Yes, he may not feel ready to go beyond what you have at this point, but you can make the decision to leave him once he's been called upon to verbalize his feelings when you ask him to do so.  If you are, currently, not capable of doing this -- because you fear the response -- at least try asking him to help you shake-up the routine, and be inventive as to how that should be done.  In the final analysis, if we don't go after what we want in life, we will seldom get it.  If you ask for more, and get the cold-shoulder or the non-committal "I don't know" response, you don't need a two-by-four to hit you in the head to get the message.  But don't weep before you take the leap to settle your discontent with a rational approach, rather than feel sorry for yourself.  And please, don't get your daughter involved in your quest to snag him.