Part­ner of­ten gets left out

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Lean­ing To­ward Matrimony

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’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.

What do you think? Dis­ap­pointed

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.”

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?

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.

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

Mar­riage is big­ger and way 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.”

Send ques­tions for Amy Dick­in­son by email to [email protected]­dick­in­

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