Dear Amy: I was on a family vacation with my husband and two kids, my mom and her longtime boyfriend. At a meal one evening, the boyfriend appeared to be mocking the thick accent of our waitress, and I tried to (nicely) tell him that she might be offended.
He said that he did not care what she thought and then got up and left. For the remaining several days, he ignored me and my kids, lurking around at a distance with an angry look on his face while we tried to enjoy ourselves.
He was extremely unpleasant and would not even say goodbye to us at the airport. I was very upset by his behavior. He has been a father figure to me for most of my life. It appeared to my kids that he suddenly did not like them or want to talk to them (I tried to explain that he was angry with me, not them).
This whole incident made me realize that he does not respect me as much as he does his biological daughter. As it stands now, I really want nothing more to do with him, and I do not want him around my kids. It makes it difficult to visit my mom, but as I told her, she chooses to have him in her life, and I choose not to have him in mine. Is this a reasonable position?
Dear Upset: Sometimes, one event can spiral out of control; this event can seem to open your eyes to tons of information, which you feel forced to act upon as a matter of principle.
That's when you need to take a deep breath and see if you can manage to tolerate a less-than-ideal relationship with a less-than-ideal person.
This man's behavior on the family vacation was incredibly immature, rude and hurtful. But you claim he is a father figure to you, and so, rather than behave the way he is behaving and walk away from the relationship, you could choose to confront him, ask some questions and arrive at some sort of (even imperfect) resolution.
Trying this and failing is better than not trying at all. If you try, but there is no resolution or reconciliation, then, yes, you should lay your non-negotiable at your mother's feet and let her make the tough choices.
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