DEAR CAROLYN: I'm very lucky to be with the most supportive, kind, brilliant, hardworking, and genuine person I've ever met. We've been together for more than a year and have discussed getting married.
My mother, however, has been extremely negative because I am white and my boyfriend is African. My mom agrees he's a great guy, but she remains judgmental. She makes a big deal of keeping our relationship a secret from extended family. She thinks it would cause my ailing grandmother horrible emotional pain if she found out. This puts me in the position of having to put my plans aside for my family's racism. I would elope, but he really wants to have a wedding. L.
DEAR L.: Your mother has put you in a position of having to select from a menu of unappealing choices, not "of having to put my plans aside for my family's racism." That's something you've done by choosing that dish from the menu.
Other dishes to choose from:
Ignoring your mother's wishes, involving your boyfriend (with his informed consent) in your extended family as you would any other boyfriend and letting the pearls get clutched as they may;
Having the wedding he wants, but without your family;
Or giving Mama a chance to choose between accepting your boyfriend and remaining in your life, or rejecting him and losing you.
You can also choose to discuss each option with this wonderful man and devise a course of action together.
Even if that brings you right back to your decision to defer indefinitely to your mom's racism, then at least you'll know it was your decision and so will he.
DEAR CAROLYN: My husband and I have been struggling with whether to have a baby we're sort of at loggerheads about it and it's clear one of us is just going to have to give in to the other. I know it's wrong to force someone to have a baby; is it equally wrong to force someone not to?
If I decide not to, how do I make peace with that, vs. blaming him? Tough Decision
DEAR DECISION: It's not equal, because forced childlessness doesn't create an innocent baby unwanted by one of his parents.
I wish there were some way to make this fair, but there isn't one. If your husband will not get behind the idea of dedicating himself to a child, then you have to decide: him or children.
Choosing him does mean, though, that he's not the one forcing childlessness anymore it means you're choosing it fair and square.