Many readers responded when “Concerned Big Sister” wrote that her younger sister was making a huge mistake by dating a man from a different financial and status background (December 8).
Along with my own advice, my column shares readers’ commentaries about their similar experiences, to give those dealing with problems added perspective:
Reader #1 – “I, too, grew up in an upper-middle class household. My husband grew up middle-class and got a university education, but ended up working in a blue-collar job.
“He was a poor saver and was never too concerned with the same social rules with which I was raised.
“Many people, including my parents and friends, were surprised (or disapproving) that I’d marry someone who wasn't a clone of me.
“It was the best decision I've ever made. As a team, my husband and I saved lots of money and live very comfortably.
“He’s an excellent father. The flexibility of his job has meant that he can spend a lot of time with our children whom he adores.
“He treats me like a queen and provides stability from my high-stress job.
“My uppity friends and family express envy now, because we have genuine love and respect for each other, as well as an amazing life.
“I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world.”
Reader #2 – “I grew up in a working-class family while my wife grew up firmly middle class. It’s been an eye-opening experience.
“It's difficult to comprehend how different life is (and how much easier life is) when you’re more concerned with how you invest your money and get the greatest returns, instead of how you’re going to feed your family this week.
“This older sister needs to look at all the good fortune her birthright has gotten her and try to imagine where she’d be without them.
“Then, maybe she can look past this perceived mismatch and see what seems like a perfectly decent guy.”
Reader #3 – “There are plenty of wealthy, cultured men who beat their wives, cheat, abuse drugs, etc.
“The younger sister has expressed how kind, strong, and fun her boyfriend is. They have a good time together and she cares for him.
“He pays rent, he's not a freeloader.
“He respects his parents enough to help them out while they're helping him.
“I feel so badly that the sister and her boyfriend have to deal with such judgement from a relative.
“Hopefully, they’ll learn to stop sharing information with awful, judgmental people.”
Reader #4 – “I was that younger sister 44 years ago. My family was at the top of the social scale. I married a man with no money, little education, and few job prospects. And he was of a different race.
“I’m talking about an intelligent, kind, gentle person who found humour in surprising places. We laughed a lot, especially at our own absurdities and idiosyncrasies.
“I was the main breadwinner, but he always held a job and made the most of opportunities.
“Of course, there were ups and downs. He came from an unstable family, rife with addictions. It left its scars, but he got psychological help when he needed it.
“My husband died 28 years into our marriage. I’m still grieving. If my family had opposed my marriage or treated my husband with disrespect, I would’ve fought them and even walked away from them.
“I’m so thankful that my family took the route you recommended. I continue to have a strong and loving relationship with my older sisters.”
We’re expecting our first child. It’s an intended pregnancy.
We recently learned that we’re having a girl, and I feel disappointed.
I'm glad she's healthy but I've felt it’s a boy, and have only pictured myself with one.
Have other moms felt this? I feel guilty and ashamed to not just be grateful for my baby girl.
How do I become as excited for a girl as I was for a boy?
You’re not alone. Many women and men have a preference for the gender of their first child.
You may have strong personal reasons for this feeling.
If so, consider asking the doctor looking after your pregnancy whether she/he thinks you should probe it further.
The doctor may suggest referral to a counsellor, so that your disappointment doesn’t become overwhelming, now or after the birth.
Readers, if you’ve had similar experiences that can be helpful, please write them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tip of the day:
When loving, respectful couples work towards common goals, “class” is a non-issue.