While I'm away, readers give the advice.
Relax: Holidays are just another box on the calendar
On divvying up the holidays: It is not the end of the world if a couple spends a holiday apart. My husband and I are both military and have spent one birthday (each) together. We have never been together for Valentine's Day. It's a great time to get some peace and quiet.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories was when I was too far away from anyone to be "expected" to make it. I spent the day alone eating junk food and rereading the Little House on the Prairie series. It was so tranquil.
Where does one of you want to spend Christmas/Thanksgiving? Where does the other? Is the main goal winning, being together or being happy, even if it's apart? There is too much crazy pressure attached to a calendar day. They could go on vacation (in their city or somewhere else), volunteer at a homeless shelter or food kitchen, or just decide to sit around and watch TV. Being grownup means taking responsibility for your own happiness, then accepting others' disappointment. If your flight were canceled and you couldn't get there, they would still survive! Their holiday isn't dependent on your presence, and, if it is, time to break that addiction.
Asking for what you need is better than suffering in silence
On waiting for someone to propose: I really enjoy reading your column. That said, I hope my kids never end up asking you why someone won't marry them. If he is really in love with her, he won't let her walk away.
Anonymous Mom of Five
On waiting, continued: I was once in a similar situation. I had dated a man two years, we were very compatible, but I got the feeling that he — being rather passive and risk-averse — would be happy to drift along as we were indefinitely.
On my 35th birthday, I explained the "biological clock thing" and said: "I know that my goal in life is to marry and have a family. You need to decide if that is also what you want. I can wait until (specific date) for you to decide. If you don't think that's possible, you need to let me go then, so I'll have time to find someone else who does want those things." There were no threats, pleading or nagging. I just said what I knew I needed to do.
Within the month, he agreed to go to a counselor with me to help decide whether it truly would be a good thing if we married. A month later, we started looking at rings. He proposed on Christmas Day, and we married the next April.
We had a good, solid marriage for six years, until he died from brain cancer. Neither of us took the other for granted anymore, we knew what was important (clean MRIs) and what was not important (everything else). We appreciated each day we had together.
None of us knows how much time we have in life; maybe we don't have extra years to waste on a relationship without a future, or be afraid to commit because there might be an incrementally "better bet" out there with someone else. Growing old with someone you love is a privilege, not a drag.