DEAR AMY: I have been with my boyfriend for more than five years. We live together and have two wonderful children together.
We are both fast approaching 30 and are generally content with our relationship. I, however, have a nagging insecurity that won't seem to go away.
While my boyfriend tells me that he loves me and wants to be with me forever, he has not proposed or even given any hint that marriage might be in our future.
I am happy to be with him, and I know that marriage is not necessary to prove that we love each other, but the fact that he doesn't seem to want to marry me makes me a little insecure.
Am I overreacting? Is this something I need to get over? — Impatient
DEAR IMPATIENT: I don't hold the rock-solid position that partners — or parents — must be married to succeed, longer term.
But to call someone you've been with for five years (who is also the father of your children) your "boyfriend?" This cannot be.
You may think I'm dwelling on the trivial, but my point is that if you think of, and refer to, him as a "partner" (for instance) instead of a boyfriend, it might codify your relationship in a way that makes you more comfortable.
It might also inspire both of you to act less like boyfriend and girlfriend and more like partners, and face this challenging, intimate issue honestly.
If you truly believe that marriage is not necessary to your future success as a couple and as parents, then you don't need my input. But my objective view is that a guy who could bring two children into the world and not want to marry the mother of his children is quite simply a guy who will never marry the mother of his children.
If you can think of him as your partner and "just get over" this important issue, then you should. Because so far, you don't really have much choice.
DEAR AMY: I am 24 and have the opportunity to move from my hometown to a town five hours away. I would be leaving my family (parents and sibling), a few friends and our pets and moving in with a cousin and her boyfriend in a new town, with a new job and new opportunities.
My problem is that I am no longer sure I want to make the move!
I feel scared. I visited the area, saw the new place and saw the places I applied to work last week. Yet all the excitement I felt last week is gone.
I can't get over the whole "leaving everything I know" part. I'd be leaving a family I am very close to and pets I can't go a day without seeing.
I feel lost and as if I am drowning. I don't know what to do. Should I stay home and keep doing what I've been doing — working on getting my own place? Or should I leave everything I know to go try my hand at a new place with new people and the possibility of adventure and happiness? — Torn
DEAR TORN: I think you should be brave and try this. The experience of leaving home and living in a new place will teach you so much about yourself; these lessons cannot be learned any other way.
One of the things you might learn, ultimately, is that you absolutely love your hometown and want to return to it. And then you can move back, love it fiercely and remove all doubt about where you should live.
DEAR AMY: "Little Sis" described her sister as a "hypochondriac" because of her constant medical complaints.
For 10 years, my sister-in-law complained about not feeling well. Many doctors could not find any cause. She also talked incessantly about her health, and I privately thought she was a little nuts. Finally she was diagnosed with ALS, slowly got worse and died three to four years after diagnosis.
I feel terrible and guilty about judging her. — Julie
DEAR JULIE: Many readers suggested that this sister might have an actual undiagnosed medical condition. Thank you all.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamytribune.com. You can also follow her on Twitter askingamy or "like" her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.)
By Amy Dickinson