Dear Margo: Politics and Religion — Again

Should I end my friendship of almost 50 years — over politics? Margo Howard’s advice

Politics and Religion — Again

Dear Margo: “Ellie” and I have been friends for nearly 50 years. We have been through much together, even though we live in different states. However, we have never been able to discuss politics or religion since we are diametrically opposed in these areas. I long ago accepted that limit on the friendship.

Recently, I invited her to visit for three days to see a special art exhibit, attend a cooking class and have dinner with my friends here. We had a great time until she went on a political diatribe one evening while we were watching the news. I had to ask her to stop screaming at me, even though I was not participating in the dialogue. After she went home, she sent an e-mail that reawakened my hurt feelings, and unfortunately, I responded in kind. However, after a few exchanges, we both apologized, and I thought we were ready to move on.

It’s now been more than a month, and she is still reading and re-reading the e-mails and demanding I respond to her. This upsets me and makes me overly anxious. I keep telling her it’s over for me and asking her to move on, but she refuses to accept this. I don’t know what to do besides refusing further discussion and giving her time to work it out for herself. It’s all so exhausting. –Flummoxed

Dear Flum: People who can’t let go can really gum up a friendship, and I think that has already happened in your case. You do not need to defend yourself or go through a rerun of your differences. As for her “demanding” that you respond, well, stick to your guns. What can she do — send you to your room? I fear the friendship had a shelf life of 50 years, which ain’t bad. And do bear in mind that age does nothing to smooth over these kinds of situations. If an announcement of severed relations is required, make it. –Margo, philosophically

On Being Nagged To Have Children!

Dear Margo: Lately, I’ve realized my mother is not talking to me. It all started when she launched into a rant about how I wasn’t giving her grandchildren. It’s really been frustrating! Along with this, I have to deal with a proposal. I do not think I’m ready for marriage yet, but my current boyfriend (of four years) has been pressuring me. Sometimes I just want to say to my mother, “Whoa! Slow down. I don’t know if I even want to marry this man … so having kids is a whole step ahead.” She is constantly “reminding” me that she got married at 20 and gave birth to me at 23. She is making me seriously nervous. –Louisa

Dear Lou: In your circumstances, I would be grateful my mother wasn’t talking to me. She is way off base to push you to marry so she can have grandchildren. Frankly, I’ve never understood parents (and fathers can be just as bad) who are so eager for grands that they badger their kids — and you are not even married yet.

Tune her out, dear, and you might consider informing her that 1) you’ve not decided on a husband, 2) you find it intrusive for her to be pushing you for reasons having to do with her desires, and 3) when it’s time for her to go shopping for little things, you will let her know. Continue to go at your own speed. You are wise to resist pressure, and I hope the grandmother-in-waiting gets a grip. –Margo, decisively

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to dearmargo@creators.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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72 comments so far.

  1. avatar A R says:

    LW 1 wrote:” I had to ask her to stop screaming at me, even though I was not participating in the dialogue….After she went home, she sent an e-mail that reawakened my hurt feelings, and unfortunately, I responded in kind.”

    This scenario doesn’t make a lot of sense. How can one have a fight by oneself? How can a grown adult get their feelings “hurt” by listening to someone rant about politics? This is my thought: unless she said that you are a right-wing commie who kills babies and then sent an email that was similar, getting “hurt” was sort of silly.
    If you want to keep the friendship, send her an email and tell her that it seems that the politics will have to be verboten for the two of you to have a good time, and that you are finished talking about the uncomfortable incident that happened.

  2. avatar Lym BO says:

    LW2: Funny about your mom. My mother whined about not having grandchildren & how she was the only one of her friends with none. She told me how one of the gals her age (60) had great grandchildren & how she was going to be too old to enjoy them. Fast forward 8 years, I adopted twins (probably infertile due to her pressure) then within 5 years I bore two babies. NOW she says things about how I made my bed having 5 in less than 5 years and, I’ll have to lay in it. She offers no help. She punts any suggestions she take the kids for a few days, etc. They rarely visit the darlings (who are well-behaved). Go figure!
    Ignore everyone & do what is right for you.

    • avatar A R says:

      LOL, Lymbo. When she said she wanted grandbabies, she must have had a particular number in mind that is NOT five.

  3. avatar DonnaH says:

    My 30th birthday was awful. I was the oldest & clearly failing in my duty to provide my parents with a son-in-law & grandchildren. Although, frankly, my parents didn’t think any guy I dated was good enough until was nearly 30. Turning 40 was a picnic by comparison because both of my younger brothers had wed & reproduced, so the pressure was off me.

    I never had children. Some people should not be parents, but unfortunately, I think most of those who shouldn’t be don’t realize it until after they are parents. The best think G*d ever did for me was make me realize I wouldn’t be a good parent BEFORE I reproduced.

    I ended a friendship after years because of her views on my religion, which she’d kept hidden. One evening we were out with a group, & she turned on me (perhaps because she finally had an audience), telling me that I was a lousy Jew because I didn’t go to services as often as she went to her Christian services, & other Jews would never fully accept me because I’m a convert. She uses the Bible to pick on my sister’s long-term relationship with a married man but ignored what the Bible had to say about her living with a man she wasn’t married to.
    I decided that my life was better without such judgemental & ignorant hypocracy. In five years, I’ve only contacted her once, to send her condolences when her live-in lover died.

    I have made an agreement with a long-term & very dear friend that we don’t read each other’s Facebook posts. He’s a Tea Party member & I’m a traditional, old-fashioned, bleeding-heart liberal. He took offense at my anger at what the current Republican governor is doing to my beloved state, insisting I shouldn’t feel the way I do because i met the governor once. It was years before the governor even entered politics, but my friend apparently felt that because I didn’t spit at the now-governor, i should agree with his devastating politics.

    The Current Mr. Right is Republican. I think we get along so well because we live far apart & most of our communication is by phone call, email, & texting. On the rare occasion we do get together, we have other things besides politics on our agenda. However, we have made an agreement; i don’t force him to watch Keith Olbermann & Rachel Maddow, & he doesn’t force me to watch O’Reilly, Beck, or whoever is on Fox.

  4. avatar victoria_suominen says:

    Any woman who has lived with a man for 4 years and can’t decide whether to marry him had better realize that if she is feeling “pressured” from her boyfriend that he is ready to move on.  Some men want to get married and settle down.  So, if you don’t want to make up your mind, make alternative plans for the day he tells you “good-bye”.   Your mother is simply clouding your mind and distracting you from the real issue here:  Do you love this man enough to commit the rest of your life to him or not? He deserves an honest answer and, quite frankly, you deserve it to yourself to figure it out.  Therefore, I disagree somewhat with Margo.  Tell your mom to take a chill pill, but DO put some thought into your boyfriend’s feelings.

  5. avatar victoria_suominen says:

    Flummoxed, you have been friends for 50 years. How old is your friend?  If you perceive her sudden rant about politics and her obsession over old email to be not her usual behavior, then you should go visit her in person.  Observe her.  Do you notice any other personality changes? Some people start to have problems as they get older and you will be doing your friend the favor of a lifetime if you decide she needs help and find a tactful way for her to get it.  Sometimes, talking to a family member or another close friend is a good way.  Otherwise, if you do suspect there is something unusual about her manner and you have no one else to confide in, then offer to go with her to the doctor’s office.  Alzheimers, thyroid, and other illnesses if caught early can be treated so the progression of the illness is slowed down, allowing the person to continue to enjoy life for years to come.  I wish you the best!

  6. avatar Kenhill46 says:

    LW2:  Girl, it’s been 4 years, what are you waiting for?  You either love him or you don’t.  Either accept his proposal or let him go and find somebody else.  Ignore your mom, if she wanted grandkids, she should have had more kids other than you!