D ear Amy: I have been with a wonderful man for over four years and have a healthy relationship with him. Despite our happiness together, I am contemplating whether to leave him because of his family.
They are racist and rude. He is white and I’m Middle Eastern. They have made racist comments to me, called me foul names, and his mother even telephoned me to say she wishes and prays that her son breaks up with me.
He has tried talking to them but at this point it’s so awkward, he just wants me to get over it. They are paying for his living expenses while he is in school, so he feels he owes them, and they’re “the good guys” now.
I don’t know if I can forgive them after four years of torture. I try to be polite and say nothing, but secretly I want to scream and walk out.
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Should I forgive and forget? I feel like I have to choose between a good guy with a horrible family or nothing at all.
Dear Sad: I vote for screaming and walking. Here’s why: They are his family. They are also his blank check. In not expecting and/or demanding respectful treatment of his partner, he is actually aligning with them – demonstrated by his choice to tolerate their disrespect in exchange for support.
Your guy has “tried talking to them” when he should have Shut. It. Down.
His loyalty is to his family first; you get whatever is left. This might be almost understandable or forgivable if not for the fact that he somehow expects you to get over something that is not resolved.
I suggest you answer his mother’s prayers and find someone who comes from a better family.
Dear Amy: Three months ago a young man added me by accident on Facebook. He had been adding some people from a certain religious group, of which I’m a part. I accepted this Facebook friendship on a limited basis, as it is rare to find friends of my faith.
Turns out he is from the same country as my father. He thought I was from his country, too, before he figured out I am American. We began chatting and have Skyped about that and about our faith; as the months have gone on, I have become very fond of him. I’d like to take this to the next level; my parents dated long distance in an eerily similar way, and I believe I could handle that. But is it rational to fall for someone you’ve never met, based on common values and interests?
— Long-Distance Lover?
Dear Long-Distance: This happens all the time. In fact, in many ways, it’s easier to fall for someone long-distance because you are each presenting an idealized version of yourself, designed to appeal to the other. You are quite literally writing the story of your life, exactly as you want it told. I believe that people tend to be more open about personal values and actually communicate better when they’re getting to know one another at a distance.
There is nothing irrational or inherently wrong in falling for someone this way – the heart-quickening rush when an email or text comes in is exciting and affirmative.
However, all of the usual caveats apply when dealing with an Internet relationship. Verify his identity through other sources. And if he asks for a loan or offers you an exciting deal on an interesting investment opportunity, run in the other direction.
Dear Amy: I was surprised at your answer to “Guilt Trip Central.” This woman quickly planned a weekend trip with her sister and other bridesmaids without “clearing” it with her husband first. Since when does a grown woman need permission to take a trip?
— No Guilt Here
Dear No Guilt: This particular letter writer had a toddler at home. I think it’s simply good manners to discuss travel plans with one’s partner before committing to them. This is not asking permission, but giving the person who will keep the home fires burning a “heads up.”