Q. Iím very lucky to be with the most supportive, kind, brilliant, hardworking, and genuine person Iíve ever met. Weíve been together more than a year, and discuss getting married.
My mother, however, has been extremely negative because I am white and my boyfriend is African. My mom agrees heís a great guy, but she remains judgmental. She makes a big deal of keeping our serious relationship ďsecretĒ from extended family. She genuinely thinks it would cause my grandmother, already dealing with multiple illnesses, horrible emotional pain if she found out.
This puts me in the position of having to put my plans aside for my familyís racism and small-mindedness. And itís unfair to my boyfriend, who has always been wonderful to me and my family.
I would elope, but he really wants to have a wedding. How am I supposed to plan one when my mother is openly racist and my grandmother would apparently be devastated?
A. Your mother has put you in a position of having to select from a menu of unappealing choices, not ďof having to put my plans aside for my familyís racism.Ē Thatís something youíve done by choosing that dish from the menu.
Other dishes to choose from:
ü ignoring your motherís wishes, involving your boyfriend (with his informed consent) in your extended family as you would any other boyfriend and letting the pearls get clutched as they may;
ü having the wedding he wants, but without your family;
ü severing ties with Mama over her hateful and selfish stance;
ü or giving her a chance to choose between accepting your boyfriend and remaining in your life, or rejecting him and losing you.
All these too severe for you? OK, itís your prerogative to find them so and veto accordingly. You can also choose to discuss each of them with this wonderful man and devise a course of action together, one that draws from your combined wisdom and addresses both of your needs.
Even if that brings you right back to your decision to defer indefinitely to your momís racism, then at least youíll know it was your decision and so will he.
Q. My husband and I have been struggling with whether to have a baby. Weíre sort of at loggerheads about it, and itís clear one of us is just going to have to give in to the other. I know itís wrong to force someone to have a baby; is it equally wrong to force someone not to?
If I decide not to, how do I make peace with that, versus blaming him? (I donít want to leave him.) Thanks.
A. Itís not equal, because forced childlessness doesnít create an innocent baby unwanted by one of his parents.
I wish there were some way to make this fair, but there isnít one. If your husband will not get fully behind the idea of dedicating himself to a child, then you have to decide: him or children.
Choosing him does mean, though, that heís not the one forcing childlessness anymore, it means youíre choosing it fair and square. If you must, blame fate for not rolling the man you love and an eager father into one guy. Owning that is how you get your peace.
ü Email Carolyn at tellmewashpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.
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