He should want to marry me by now

As I mentioned yesterday, Love Letters has its 5th anniversary this month and we have two events to celebrate.

On Jan 21, we will gather at Emerald Lounge. There will be drinks and prizes. Our special guest for the night will be best-selling novelist J. Courtney Sullivan, whose book, "The Engagements," was just optioned by Reese Witherspoon. Courtney's book deals with a lot of Love Letters issues (including "ring watch"). We'll chat with her at 6 p.m. and then stay to party. You must register for the event, just so we know you're coming. You'll sign up like you did for the Joseph Gordon-Levitt night. If you have any problems registering, email me at meregoldstein at gmail. Please come and drink and party.

On Jan. 22, our official anniversary, we'll have Love Letters night with The Huntington Theatre Company for its performance of "Venus in Fur," a very sexy play that is good for a night out with friends or a date. I'll do a talk-back after the show, and there will be prizes. You can buy discounted tickets for that night as a friend of LL, or you can try to win some. I'm giving away a bunch of pairs. Email me a creative paragraph about why you want to be at en erotic play on the 5th anniversary of Love Letters – put "FREE TICKETS" in the subject line and send your entry by today at 5 p.m. – and I will pick winners by Monday. Email to: meregoldstein at gmail.

Speaking of ring watch ...

I am in my late 20s and I have been with someone for a little over three years. We have lived together for about a year and a half. We also have a 10-month-old together. She was planned. (I know, stupid me to have a child with someone before marrying them.) Well, before we met, he was married for three years. He said their marriage was basically like they were roommates. They did their own chores. She never worked and he took care of all the bills and her spending habits.

She cheated on him while he was deployed, and then they got a divorce. When we first got together, he said he never wanted to get married again and he never wanted children because of his career. He did change his mind on the child thing, and that’s when we decided to have our daughter. He also said he would get married.

For the last year and a half now, I have mentioned things about getting married. I have tried to talk to him about it and ask him what the deal is because we have been together for three years, live together, and have a child together. When I first brought it up he said he wanted to be together for two years first -- well that came and went and still no engagement. Then when I mentioned it again, he said he wanted to get our own place first. Well, that came and went too. The last time I brought it up he said we needed to work on our relationship first because we argue. All couples argue; it's only natural.

Over the past few months, my feelings have seemed different toward him, and I know a lot of it is because I feel like I am waiting around for nothing. Financially I am struggling because of my job and the bills I have to pay on my own. We split most costs (day care, etc.), but he has a good paying job and doesn't offer to help me out more. I know he is the person I want to marry, but I feel my feelings changing for him because I'm tired of waiting around for him to make the move. It's something we never really talk about unless I bring it up, and it's a short conversation anyways because he finds a way to change it. I feel like I am still paying for his past relationship and it's not fair. I treat him well, I cook for him every night, make his lunches for him every day, take care of the kids (our child and my child from a previous relationship), and I was loyal and there for him through his last deployment and the rest of his career.

What should I do? How should I go about telling him either he needs to come to his senses or I'm moving on? He is the type that if you give him an ultimatum he gets arrogant and the exact opposite will happen. I feel that since we've been together for three years and everything we have together, he should know by now if he wants to marry me or not. If it's still questionable then we don't need to be together. Right?

– Waiting, Florida

I'm stuck on the thing with the bills. Yes, it'd be great to get married, but it'd be even nicer to live like people who want to spend their lives together. Splitting expenses is fine, but you don't seem to be planning for your future as a unit. If he helped with more bills, would you be able to save more for the both of you? Would it improve your lives (and the arguing) on a daily basis?

Instead of focusing on the marriage thing, consider how you feel about the relationship as it stands. Does it seem like he's in, with or without the paperwork? Do you work together as a team? Do you feel supported? If you don't, a proposal won't help.

You need to be with someone who treats you like a life partner. If he's more of a co-parent who splits costs, you need to talk to him about wanting to feel like a family. Perhaps if you explain that concept without using the M-word (which is probably beginning to lose its meaning), he'll understand -- or at least be open to discussion without getting defensive.

Readers? Should they be getting married or is something missing here? What about the expenses? Is this about his last marriage? Help.

– Meredith