New Girlfriend Already Hinting About Engagement
DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend is talking about marriage way too soon in our relationship. We've only been dating for five months. We are having a great time together -- that's true. But everything is still new, and she already jokes about the engagement ring she wants. I am sure the jokes are just jokes, but I feel that with every joke there is some truth. She is 30 years old, so I imagine her biological clock is ticking, as people say. But I am not ready to get married or have kids. Should I tell her that she's moving a little too fast for me? -- Too Soon
DEAR TOO SOON: In a word, yes. Talk to your girlfriend and tell her that you are enjoying getting to know her and building a life with her, but you are not even close to thinking about marriage. You should evaluate what you do think about marriage and when you might want to go down that road. She deserves to know your thoughts on the subject.
Ask her what her ideal timeline would be. Yes, you will need to have a real conversation with her about the future. This is true even if in your heart you still want to have fun for a few years and keep things light. Whatever is true for you, she deserves to know -- and vice versa. Five months is long enough to have a sense of whether or not you are compatible and think you want to get more serious. Be honest about where you think you are headed. There's nothing wrong with you two having different timelines, goals and dreams, but you must know what they are so that you can figure out if you should be together at this time.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a struggling artist who sells my prints online as shirts, tapestries, posters and all types of merchandise. A fan of my art wrote to me the other day to tell me that because I do not ship to the country she lives in, she found my art online and printed it on her own shirt for free. I told her that what she did was stealing and that a true fan wouldn't disrespect me like that. Did I have the wrong attitude about this? -- Art Theft
DEAR ART THEFT: You were hurt and spoke what was on your mind. Now, get creative. Perhaps you can go into business with this person. If they truly are a fan, enlist them in opening up an avenue to print and sell your work in their country. This could be risky, but since they did it for themselves anyway, it could be worth discussing. What if this person were able to set up distribution for you where they live? You can decide the financial terms, but you will have to trust them. If you get a lawyer to help you create a contract, this could turn into something positive.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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