ASK AMY

The Fresno Bee - - Life - You can con­tact Amy Dickinson via email: ask [email protected] amy dickinson. com. Read­ers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also fol­low her on Twit­ter @ask­ingamy or “like” her on Face­book.

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: 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 be­hav­ior and the tone you’d like to see – with you and your guy side by side, com­mu­ni­cat­ing as equals and fam­ily mem­bers. 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.

I

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