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DEAR ABBY: After two years of dating, my boyfriend and I recently got engaged. We're in our 30s and grew up in the same town. It will be a second marriage for both of us. We were each previously married close to 10 years. I have four children; he has none.

He loves my children like they are his own, and they love him. His family was nice to me at the beginning, thinking that it wouldn't last. I know they aren't fond of the fact I have four kids, and they think he should find a woman who doesn't have any.

We have been very happy together, but when we got engaged, his family got very upset because he didn't ask them how they felt or tell them he was going to do it. I think they would have discouraged it immediately.

I feel awful because he's very close with his family. He always backs me 100 percent, but I don't want to tear them apart. I don't want him to not want to see them. He's very family oriented, and it breaks my heart that he wants all of us to be close. They aren't outright rude, but they make me feel uncomfortable, like I'm not good enough for their son/brother.

All of a sudden, his brothers/sister and their spouses have stopped talking to me. They have deleted me on social media. We have never gotten into an argument or anything, so I'm at a loss. Should I marry him? — GETTING THE COLD SHOULDER

DEAR GETTING: This is something you and your fiance must decide together with your eyes wide open. You say his family hasn't been outright rude, but I beg to differ. Making people feel uncomfortable, giving them the silent treatment and unfriending them is rude.

These appear to be extremely controlling people. You need to decide if you can coexist with in-laws like this, and your fiance needs to decide which family is more important — the one he will form with you and your children, or the one he was born into. He may not be able to have both. You have my sympathy.

DEAR ABBY: I am a gay male in my late 20s, finishing up my grad school program. My boyfriend is older than I am by seven years. We met in 2017, but I suffered a loss in my family and was grieving for about six months. We met again over the summer and continued our relationship from June to the present.

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He just texted me about the future, saying he wants children in a year or two. I am anxious and sad because this feels like a make-or-break decision. I do want children and think I will be a good father. However, a child is a huge responsibility, and I am well aware of that. I don't know how soon I'll be ready. I don't even know what the next year will bring. What say you, Dear Abby? — LACKS CERTAINTY IN MINNESOTA

DEAR LACKS CERTAINTY: I say you need to return your boyfriend's text and tell him exactly what you have written to me. Your feelings are honest, and your thinking is clear. Now that you know where he stands, it is important he knows where you do.

That said, I'm surprised this subject was brought up in a text and not during a one-on-one conversation because of its importance.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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