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damage control

The question

My fiancé and I have known each other since 2006 and were engaged in 2012. But after 10 years dating, he is still living with his mother and not willing to move out to live with me. He bought a house in 2010 as I pushed him to find his own house, hoping he would move out of his parents' and start his own independent life, but he didn't. His mother has an opinion on everything in his life and his house's renovation, painting, landscaping etc. I never got to move in nor even get a key. We are both middle-aged, professional and educated. He is 53 and I am 48. I want to settle down and build a life with him, but he's still dragging his feet and living at home. He asked me to wait until his job was less stressful and until he can find another, better house for us to move in to. He has many excuses. He told me he loved me and would marry me soon. But 10 years passed and nothing's changed: He's still single and irresponsible. Please advise if I am right to break up with him.

The answer

The word "duh" comes to mind.

Also: "Listen to yourself. Can you – can you just listen to yourself?"

You know, generally speaking, I try to make Damage Control a "safe space" for people to unburden themselves, vent spleen as may be and admit to making mistakes.

Then, I'll say something along the lines of: "Hey, don't worry about it, we all make mistakes, me at least as much as anyone. Here's what you do."

But every once in a while, a question comes across the transom where the person is so egregiously unaware of the elephant-in-the-room obviousness of the problem my pen is obliged to flash from its scabbard and I have to administer some "tough love."

This, madam, I'm afraid, is one of those, so gird yourself.

But first, let's take a look at this so-called man, your so-called fiancé.

Man, I hate time wasters. And this guy is clearly wasting your time.

It is a terrible, grievous sin to waste another person's time. Time is the most precious commodity we have on this planet. But to waste a decade of another person's life? I'm no priest, but I'd say that's a cardinal, a.k.a. "mortal," sin.

The worst, IMHO, is when a man – dithering, heel-dragging, prevaricating, if not downright filling the air with lies – wastes a woman's prime child-bearing years, so she has to give up her cherished dream of being a mother.

Then dumps her. I've seen this happen. There is a special place in hell for such characters, full of demons with pliers, blowtorches, iron maidens and other instruments of torture.

But it must be said it requires some collusion, willful blindness and/or naïveté on the part of the victim (you).

Certainly the case here. This cad/mama's boy hasn't stolen the past decade of your life – you've given it to him! Is he so dazzling, dashing and debonair that he has a Svengali-like hold over you? Is he like some combination of George Clooney and the reincarnation of Cary Grant and Fred Astaire? (Although it's hard to imagine such a being living with his mommy.)

Not sure I fully understand his living arrangements. Does he live in this house or with his mother? It's unclear. Doesn't matter. Bottom line: You need to dump this chump, prontissimo and post-haste, before he wastes another decade of your life.

Life's too short to flick decades out the window like so many spent cigarettes. If it helps, read the book He's Just Not That Into You, by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.

Or just read the title: The contents of the book don't elucidate or elaborate much.

(Yes, columnist admits, blushing: I read it.)

A book that electrified a generation of women and freed many of them, it seemed, from the type of wafflers and heel-draggers such as the one currently bleeding you white.

Put this mama's boy in the rear-view, watch him get smaller and smaller. Then, find someone who really is into you. Who appreciates you, who "gets" you, who wants to spend your lives together, so you can have some fun in the time that remains and stop living a life of anxiety and doubt.

Are you in a sticky situation? Send your dilemmas to Please keep your submissions to 150 words and include a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.

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