Dear Annie: I graduate from college in December (hopefully), and before then I have some important decisions to make about my future. I've been thinking about the outcomes for several months already, and the decision has not gotten any easier.
I've been dating my boyfriend for well over a year now and we've talked about getting married in the future. We also plan on getting engaged in a couple months. While I have no doubt in my mind that's what I want, it's what comes after that I'm struggling with.
My parents are very supportive and have paid for my college. In return, I am paying them back once I get a full-time job after graduation. For custody reasons with his daughter, my boyfriend is planning on moving back to his hometown in January and very much wants me to join him (which is seven hours away). Not only do I want to be there with him, but also I know there are a lot more job opportunities there than where I currently reside.
While my parents are aware of his situation and support it fully, they aren't sure whether I should join him. My debt could be paid faster if I lived with my parents for a year before we get married. My boyfriend also assured me that even with him I wouldn't have to worry about bills until I paid off my debt, as he makes enough money to cover everything and then some.
Even though my boyfriend supports whatever decision I end up making, I'm still torn on what I should do. I want to follow my heart, which is to follow him, but I also don't want to disappoint my parents by not following their advice.
I've been very stressed out ever since these decisions came to light. I've even started losing sleep wondering where I'll end up and whether I'll be hurting people I love in the process. As you can see, I need a third party's view on the situation. Any advice is very appreciated. — Tossing and Turning
Dear Tossing and Turning: Your heart is telling you to follow your boyfriend after graduation, but what is your gut telling you? I ask because I'm not convinced it's just your parents giving you pause. When it comes to making a life decision as major as this, you should be so self-assured in it that nothing can stop you.
If I am correct that you, deep down, are not 100% sure you want to move in with him just yet, then wait. It's always better to err on the side of taking things too slowly than too quickly. He's not going anywhere.
Ultimately, it's not about what I, your parents, or your boyfriend wants for you. It's about what you want for yourself. Because no matter what anyone else thinks is right for your life, you're the one who actually has to live it. Trust your gut above all else.
Dear Annie: When we are the last table at a restaurant and the staff is waiting for us to go home, I feel we should get up and leave within 20 minutes. However, the other night, my husband and two other couples continued to talk for at least an hour. The staff gave hints by cleaning our table and vacuuming. I was so embarrassed. My husband and friends feel they spent money for dinner and drinks and are thereby entitled to stay as long as they'd like. I used to waitress and find this very rude. What is proper etiquette? — Concerned New Yorker
Dear Concerned New Yorker: If your husband is looking for a place to indefinitely hang out with friends at his leisure, he can try your living room. Seriously. Maybe dinner parties at home are a better idea. It is absolutely rude to linger more than 20 minutes after finishing your meal when a restaurant has closed, and you can tell him I said so.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]