Man re­sents be­ing left off of an­nual let­ter

The Observer (Sarnia) - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON

Dear Amy:

I'm a gay male who's been in a re­la­tion­ship with the same man for the last 25 years.

Both of our fam­i­lies have been sup­port­ive of our re­la­tion­ship over the years.

Dur­ing the Christ­mas holidays, we usu­ally re­ceive Christ­mas cards from my part­ner's side of the fam­ily with an­nual let­ters in­side of them.

These let­ters usu­ally tell sto­ries about the hap­pen­ings of the cur­rent year.

What trou­bles me ev­ery year is that some of the Christ­mas cards are ad­dressed only to my part­ner's name when the fam­ily mem­ber knows me very well and knows of our long re­la­tion­ship.

As for the let­ters in­side these Christ­mas cards, many of them only men­tion my part­ner but say noth­ing about me!

I imag­ine some mem­bers of my part­ner's fam­ily may feel awk­ward writ­ing any­thing about me and hav­ing to ex­plain who I am to any­one else re­ceiv­ing the Christ­mas cards with let­ters in­side of them.

I've ex­pressed my feel­ing of dis­ap­point­ment to my part­ner. He usu­ally just says to me that he doesn't un­der­stand it ei­ther and that we should not give this im­por­tance.

While I agree with my part­ner's view, I'm still left with what the right/cor­rect thing to do is. What do you think?

— DIS­AP­POINTED AT CHRIST­MAS

Dear Dis­ap­pointed:

I agree with you that it is dis­re­spect­ful for these fam­ily mem­bers to ba­si­cally deny your pres­ence in your part­ner's life, by not ad­dress­ing cards to you, and by not in­clud­ing you or even ac­knowl­edg­ing you in their an­nual nar­ra­tives.

Your part­ner should ad­dress this with his par­ents (and per­haps with more dis­tant fam­ily mem­bers), not only by say­ing that this is an­noy­ing and rude, but to patently ask them to adopt a dif­fer­ent course of ac­tion: “Mom and Dad, we love your Christ­mas let­ter, but could you please re­mem­ber that I have a life part­ner? He's a mem­ber of the fam­ily, and it's em­bar­rass­ing when you leave him out. Hon­estly, this ex­clu­sion hurts both of our feel­ings.”

That hav­ing been said, most peo­ple who write Christ­mas let­ters write most pas­sion­ately and com­pre­hen­sively about their di­rect rel­a­tives (chil­dren, grand­chil­dren). In-laws and part­ners should be men­tioned by name, how­ever.

You should also help to turn the page on this by pub­lish­ing your own Christ­mas let­ter. Model the be­hav­iour and the tone you'd like to see — with you and your guy side-by-side, com­mu­ni­cat­ing as equals and fam­ily mem­bers.

Dear Amy:

I've been with my boyfriend for over seven years. We are both 35.

We are both com­mit­ted, love each other and have sim­i­lar goals. We just bought a house to­gether.

I don't need mar­riage as an ex­pres­sion of love, but for prac­ti­cal rea­sons and also for the an­noy­ing so­cial rea­sons (I'd like to not get hit on so of­ten/ or em­bar­rassed to still use the word “boyfriend”). I've never wanted a wed­ding, but now ... I re­ally want to get mar­ried.

He thinks mar­riage is not nec­es­sary. I've found my­self get­ting re­sent­ful, and now I don't know what to do. Can you help?

— LEAN­ING TO­WARD MAT­RI­MONY

Dear Lean­ing:

Please don't tell your­self that “get­ting hit on” is such an an­noy­ance that it is forc­ing you to­ward mar­riage. First of all, get­ting mar­ried will not change that (if you think it would, then sim­ply wear a band on your left hand and wave it at the next guy who hits on you).

Mainly, the rea­sons you cite for want­ing to get mar­ried are silly red her­rings. (Fur­ther­more, you know it.)

Mar­riage is big­ger, and more im­por­tant than that.

It's OK to want to get mar­ried, and after be­ing with your guy for over seven years, mar­riage would seem like a nat­u­ral next step, un­less, of course, you have been go­ing along with your boyfriend's “mar­riage isn't nec­es­sary” con­cept and not speak­ing from your own heart.

What you should do now is talk about it. Tell him, “Honey, I have news. It turns out I do want to get mar­ried. This feel­ing seems to have snuck up on me, but now that I know I feel this way, I need to talk about it.” Dear Amy:

Why were you so harsh on those poor grand­par­ents [“Un­merry Christ­mas”] who sim­ply wanted to see their first grand­child on his first Christ­mas? I felt so sorry for these peo­ple, whose in-laws were so rude to them on Christ­mas Day. — UP­SET WITH YOU

Dear Up­set:

Many peo­ple re­sponded sim­i­larly. I was con­cerned that this cou­ple admitted that they had “crashed” the other grand­par­ents' home on Christ­mas Day.

Hon­estly, all par­ties should have be­haved dif­fer­ently.

Email: [email protected]­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.