Really, Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
Dear Margo: I’ve been dating my partner for nearly two years long-distance (online dating product), and we both knew early on we’d found “the one.” This is a same-sex relationship, and my parents (and hers) have always been completely accepting and supportive of my sexual orientation. By all accounts, they love my partner, who is successful, beautiful, family-oriented and very warm toward them.
Well, after all these months of frequent flier miles and building a solid relationship, we’ve decided to take the next step of moving in together in anticipation of, eventually, marriage. Because she is more established in her career than am I, the logical thing is for me to relocate to her city — a mere one-hour flight away from home. The problem is my family’s rather schizo response to this: It is both indifferent (“That’s nice, honey, could you pass the salad?”) and guilt-tripping (“Your grandparents are probably going to die soon, and they’ll sure miss you.”).
Is it too much to ask for just the slightest suggestion of “We’re so happy for you”? Are they just sad to see me go? Despite their categorical support of my being gay, I can’t help but think that if I were announcing my intentions to marry a man, they would show a little more enthusiasm. Or could it be, as my partner believes, that I’m projecting disapproval onto them and fishing for their more explicit blessing to assuage my own anxiety over making this huge life change? — Uncertain
Dear Un: I suggest you short-circuit your wish for effusive happiness on the part of your parents because of your move. You already have the important thing: They support your choice of a same-sex partner, and they love her. If your folks are not planning a shower or throwing rose petals at you, allow them the ambivalence of your leaving town. I suspect they might have these same feelings if you planned to move to be with a man. Old Margo saying: Do not go looking for trouble when there’s another way to view the situation. — Margo, judiciously
Sidestepping Dumb Questions
Dear Margo: How can I get people to stop asking where my husband is deployed? They ask all sorts of questions that I would never ask anyone, civilian or military. The last one I heard was, “I don’t know how you do it. If it were my husband, I’d just roll over and cry my eyes out every day. Are you OK?” They will ask where he is now, what does he do, and the most insensitive one of all: “Has he shot anyone over there?”
How do I sidestep these questions before I decide to throttle the questioner? I don’t have time to dwell on the negatives. I have a house to run, teenagers to raise and a life to live while he is away. I just want them to stop asking questions that I really cannot answer due to personal reasons and Opsec (operational security). Any advice? — Military Wife
Dear Mil: First of all, I hope you know that I and many others think military spouses are heroes. You carry on without partners and without complaint. As for closing down the clods, when you hear the beginning of the kind of remark you describe, have a little speech memorized — and cut them off, if necessary, to say it. “I know you wish the best for me. I am doing just fine, and military policy forbids me from answering any questions. Now … how are you?” As my dear mother used to say, “That ought to settle their hash.” (P.S.: I have learned that most people mean well and often aren’t sure what to say. I, myself, have said dumb things. Does that help?) — Margo, protectively
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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