Parent of child isn’t ready to get married

Published 8:38 am Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend, “Dyanne,” and I recently had a baby conceived not long after we started dating. While I love my child with all my heart, Dyanne is constantly dropping hints that she wants an engagement ring or a “promise ring.” I understand why because she has explained her reasons. But she’s pressuring me to provide something I believe should come when I feel comfortable doing it.
While some would say I don’t act like it, I’m traditional in some ways for a millennial. I believe that when I give someone a ring, it should be because I plan to marry her. I don’t consider marriage the way most do, and think I can just get divorced and it’s no big deal. I think Dyanne puts too much emphasis on what others think and that’s one of the reasons she wants a ring.
Am I wrong to stall until I feel ready to actually propose and not just say, “Sure. One day we will, and here’s a ring in the meantime”? — UNENGAGED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR UNENGAGED: Nowhere in your letter did you mention that you love Dyanne. You should not give her a ring and keep her in a holding pattern if you aren’t sure you want to follow through with the commitment. Be honest. Tell her you care about her and love your child and intend to responsibly co-parent with her, but you are not ready for marriage and don’t know when you will be. That’s the truth.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a volunteer tour guide for several historic sites. One of them is a cemetery. My fellow guides and I are concerned — not to mention saddened — when we see children running around unsupervised, and standing on and climbing on the gravestones. Cemeteries are sacred places in which the dead should be remembered and honored.
When parents or caretakers allow children to use the cemetery as a play area, they fail to teach them respect for the dead or for the survivors who are visiting the graves of their loved ones. They also place their children in danger. Gravestones can fall or tip over. Children have been killed or seriously injured by toppling stones. Flat grave markers can be tripping hazards. When we caution parents about these dangers, we are often met with indifference.
Please urge your readers to take our concern for their children’s safety seriously and control their children’s activities in cemeteries. — CONCERNED TOUR GUIDE

DEAR CONCERNED: I’m pleased to pass along your message because it is an important one. Cemetery etiquette is simple: Treat the graves as you would the graves of your own cherished loved ones, or as you would like your own to be treated. This includes no loud chatter, and because there are people in mourning there, not walking on the graves, not leaving chewing gum on the gravestones, keeping pets leashed — if they are brought there at all — and teaching children the difference between a cemetery and a playground.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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