DEAR ABBY: I have been in a strong relationship with my girlfriend for five years. We are very much in love.

I have told her I don’t want to get married and have kids until I have attained some level of success. She understands my desire to be a good provider, but she’s 29 and worried about her biological clock if she waits much longer.

I work full time, take night classes and I’m trying to put myself on a promising career path. Is my request unreasonable? We want it to work, but being able to provide at least a middle-class lifestyle is very important to me. — AMBITIOUS GUY IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR AMBITIOUS: It would be wonderful if there was a blueprint for success in life and marriage, but too often, "life" intervenes. You and your girlfriend should have a serious discussion about the future, because you both have to be comfortable with what happens next.

If she wants to start a family right away and you feel you can’t afford it, neither of you will be happy. If she’s willing to wait another few years to start a family (her biological clock should still be ticking, or she could freeze her eggs), then it’s important you agree about what needs to be in place financially in order for that to happen.

DEAR ABBY: My parents like to visit us and bring along their little dog, "Truffle." We are happy to have them and their dog, however we have an issue. My parents allow Truffle on the furniture. We have a dog and love her to pieces, but feel that furniture is for humans. Because our family likes to relax by sprawling on the couch at times, it’s not as pleasant once a pet has been lying there.

My husband has voiced this concern but has been ignored. We are going to visit my parents soon, and I’m wondering how to handle this. We love everyone and don’t want to hurt their feelings. I appreciate your advice. — OFF THE COUCH IN COLORADO

DEAR OFF THE COUCH: If you and your husband prefer that animals stay off the furniture in your home, that’s your privilege. In your home, your rules should be respected. If your parents choose to ignore your request, they should stay in a pet-friendly hotel or leave Truffle at home.

HOWEVER, when you visit in their home, their rules should apply. And if your husband doesn’t want to sit or lie on their couch because of the animal hair or the odor, he should sit on a dining chair that can be wiped down, take a washable cover to throw on the couch or stay home.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve had an online friend for three years. We met on a dating/?flirt app in high school and recently met in person. We aren’t currently dating, but it’s inevitable at this point.

He’s funny, down-to-earth and good-looking as hell! What he doesn’t know is that prior to meeting him, I had a relationship with a woman, and I think I’m in love with her. I broke things off with her, but now I miss her more and more. I want to reach out to her, but I want him and me to get closer as well. What should I do? — GIRL WITH OPTIONS IN MAINE

DEAR G.W.O.: What you should do is be honest with both of them and let the scenario play out naturally.

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.