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Dear Amy: I am in my 30s and have been dating my boyfriend for two years. While my family lives in a different state, he lives with his folks at home.

This would not be a problem, except that we seem to spend an excessive amount of time with his family, usually at least one weekend afternoon each weekend, in addition to dinners during the week.

Family birthdays and anniversaries tend to be all-day affairs, and with siblings and grandparents living close by it feels like I spend all of my time with his family. This feels excessive, and I feel more like a kid than a grown woman.

My boyfriend does not seem to see it this way. He is always asking if I mind doing additional things with his parents.

I have tried telling him how I need to feel like we are developing our own relationship outside of his family, but I don't know if he hears me, or if I'm asking too much.

I know he gets a lot of pressure from his parents to spend time with them, but I am wanting him to set some boundaries.

-- Stuck

Dear Stuck: I'm going to assume that your boyfriend is (also) in his 30s. I'm also going to assume that he has always lived at home. He is acting like a man whose world has always revolved around his family. YOU are the interloper, you are the extra, and you will be expected to fold into the strong social and family system that already exists.

Yes, this is too much time for you to spend with his family. How do I know this? Because you think it is.

When it comes to boundaries, I agree that boundaries need to be drawn. But YOU should draw the boundary, and it should be for you -- not him.

If weekend afternoons with family wear you out, you should go to a yoga class -- or a matinee with a friend, instead. He might decide that he misses hanging with you, and so he might choose to do something with you. (He might not, mind you, but because you'll already have a plan for yourself, it won't matter.)

Also, take separate transportation (if possible) to day-long celebrations, so that your desire to leave won't impede his desire to stay.

I assume that you enjoy his family, and I assure you that you will enjoy them more if you are making choices according to your own desires and priorities.

You should also face reality: This is the way it is. This is the way HE is. Unless he finally chooses to be a different kind of adult, the near and far-off future with him will always include his clan.

Dear Amy: I recently started working longer hours than normal, and it gets exhausting. My friends are really important to me. We used to hang out every day after work, but now I'm too tired after work to stay up late with my friends.

They are aware that my hours have changed, but they continue to call, text and even come by my house at night.

When they do this, I often tell them I have more work to do (even though I don't), because I don't want to offend them by telling them I would rather watch "The Office" and go to bed than hang out with them.

Is my lying and laziness justified, or should I just get over myself and go with them?

-- Lazy Liar

Dear Lazy Liar: Because you've mentioned "The Office," I'll use a reference from the show to describe you.

You, my friend, are such a "Pam."

But even meek, passive and ever-cooperative Pam finally found her voice (in Season Three). And so should you.

Lying and laziness are never justified. I'm surprised you would even expend the effort to continue to lie to your friends.

Speak your truth: "Guys, my new work schedule is exhausting. I can only go out once a week. Let's find the best night, and we'll enjoy a quality hang."

Dear Amy: "Disturbed by Do Not Disturb" was offended by a hotel "do not disturb" notice featuring a necktie on the door. She thought this was a sexist symbol leftover from college frat culture -- and you agreed with her!

Where are we if we can't enjoy a little "wink-wink" and wit in this world?

-- Upset

Dear Upset: If this is your idea of wit, then we have nothing to discuss.

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Reach the writer at askamy@amydickinson.com.

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