Dear Carolyn • My boyfriend’s parents are against our relationship. My boyfriend (31) and I (26) have been on and off for three years, but have remained best friends since we met. He is from England, and they have a real problem with the idea of him settling in the Midwest. Also, he hasn’t had the best history with women; they usually walk all over him. I don’t think they will ever be OK with any woman he chooses. A while back, I wrote a letter to his mother, mostly to break the ice, but she didn’t even respond. We are moving in together in a couple of weeks and plan to marry sometime soon after. I want to start a family with this man. We are head-over-heels in love and have been fighting it for some time now because of them. Seriously, this is the kind of love Disney makes a movie about. I can’t walk away (we’ve tried), but it’s very difficult for me to imagine my children’s grandparents hating me. What do we do?
Dear A. • First on your to-do list: Understand. Appreciate their position. Disney’s rough on mothers. Imagine your someday child, imagine spending 31 years with vaguely pleasant hopes of a close relationship with that child and his family as an adult, imagine imagining what it will be like to hold your grandchild and watch him or her grow up. Now imagine putting all of that an eight-plus-hour, $1,000-plus flight away. Not everyone travels well or can afford it. Yes, people settle worlds away from their nuclear families all the time, always have, and have more ways to stay in touch now than ever — but it is still not unreasonable for your boyfriend’s parents to grieve their son’s decision to put down roots overseas. But it’s also not over, and that brings us to to-do list Item 2: Be patient. You may have been in this relationship for years, but the off-and-on nature of it allowed his parents to tell themselves it might not last — thus allowing them to postpone facing the reality of you. Now that you’re moving in and planning to marry, that starts the clock on their absolutely having to deal with it. Give them a chance to.
Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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