Dear Dr. Wallace:
My boyfriend is the type of guy every girl would love. He is handsome, intelligent, sensitive, kind and very honest. He also has a great sense of humor. He and I have been going together for more than two months, and at school, we’re considered the perfect couple. I’m the happiest girl in Florida when I’m with him, and I love him very much.
He comes from a troubled home. His parents are divorced, and he lives with an older sister and his mother. His older sister is not married and never has been, but she has two children. His father is an alcoholic and can’t seem to keep a job.
My boyfriend and I have discussed his home life. He loves his family, but he knows he is not responsible for their lifestyles. He also says he has learned a lot from his family’s mistakes.
My mother is very upset that I’m dating him because “he is part of a very unstable home.” Mom is very status-minded and is always worried about what her friends will say, but I don’t plan to lose him for any reason. Things would be a lot easier if my mom would look at him for who he is and not see him only in the light of his family’s problems. My dad actually likes my boyfriend because he is a very good athlete. Your advice will be welcomed.
— Happy as Things Are, via email
Dear Happy: Prejudging is a common human flaw, and the only known antidote for it is truth. Arguing with Mom won’t change her mind. She’ll only alter her assessment of your boyfriend by getting to know him. The more she sees him in action, the better she will be able to judge him for his true individual character. Invite him to spend time at your house, and invite Mom and Dad to go out with you and him for lunch. It may take time, but eventually, she’ll realize that he is a winner and her daughter is fortunate to have a relationship with him.
Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m planning to have a Christmas-themed party at my house, and seven couples will be invited. We will have lots of food and much laughter. It will definitely be a fun party. But I do have one concern. My house will be loaded with Christmas things, including several Christmas trees and a manger scene.
Two couples that plan to come are not Christians. They are Jewish. Should I have some things my Jewish guests could relate to since they celebrate Hanukkah? I want to be politically correct.
Dear Hostess: You can include something that relates to Hanukkah if you feel comfortable doing so, but there is no need to be “politically correct.” Indeed, a forced gesture would probably seem patronizing. Since the party is at your house, the guests will respect your Christmas theme. Anyone who is uncomfortable with it would decline the invitation. Think about the reverse situation: Would you feel uncomfortable going to a party at the home of a family that celebrates Hanukkah? I trust you would want to go and spend fun times with the hosts and invited couples! It’s nice that you are thoughtful, but it’s OK to be yourself while opening your home to good cheer for all invited guests.
Contact Dr. Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org