DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing my boyfriend, "Casey," for a year. He has said throughout our courtship that we could get married in four to five years.

Over the past couple of months, he has become distant and less romantic. On one of my recent visits, Casey said he never wants to get married! When I asked what had changed his mind, his response was that he has decided that marriage is a trap. When I asked if he still wanted to be with me, he said yes.

I know I don't want to be Casey's girlfriend forever. I don't want to waste my time if he's not going to marry me, but I really want to be with him. Is it time for me to end things?

- Waiting and Hoping in Maryland 

DEAR WAITING AND HOPING: It appears that Casey has some growing up to do. Marriage isn't a trap; it's a partnership. And like any strong partnership, there is commitment involved. If Casey isn't up to making a commitment and marriage is what you're after, you should find a man who is less gun-shy.

DEAR ABBY: We live near my wife's sister "Bree" and her husband, "Joe." We socialize often. They have recently become good friends with another couple, the "Russells," who are delightful.

The problem is, when I try to carry on a conversation with Mr. Russell, Joe gets bent out of shape. He interrupts and changes the subject or says something to make me look bad. Any ideas?

- Odd Man Out in Kansas

DEAR ODD MAN OUT: It appears that your brother-in-law is insecure, or he wouldn't behave the way he is. How sad - for him.

Ask your wife to find out in advance if the Russells will be visiting when you are. If Bree asks her why, your wife should tell her that Joe seems upset when you try to carry on a conversation with the husband and you don't want to make him uncomfortable. Perhaps if she tells her husband to knock it off and grow up, he will. If not, explain to the Russells that you'll be seeing them less often, and why.