I’m a 29-year-old woman in love with a handsome, smart man, 33, who has a solid future in a respected profession. But after recently meeting his family, I want to run away as far as possible!!
He’d told them about me weeks ahead: That we’d met online, took time till we met in person, and the relationship grew over the past four months.
I have a good job in social services, am considered attractive, love being out hiking in Nature, as does he, and I usually make friends easily.
But his parents, brother and sister-in-law seemed determined to make me uncomfortable. His mother smiled weakly a few times but other than “hello,” was silent. His father told long-winded jokes, then laughed and kept asking me “did you get it?” to which his brother would laugh.
His sister-in-law never smiled, just muttered comments to her husband. But he was the worst of the lot - rudely provoking me with questions like, “When did you learn that my brother makes a lot of money?” When I tried to change the conversation, he laughed and said, “Yeah, your type never admits it’s all about money.”
I asked my boyfriend to leave then, which he did, but reluctantly. We hardly spoke in the car until he finally said, “They’re my family. I can’t just reject them.”
I can! But does that mean there’s no chance for us on our own? If his family was so ready to make me uncomfortable, how can I ever try to understand them? What kind of grandparents would they be? (I shudder at the thought). What do you advise?
Perfect Partner, Horrific Family
You’re at a serious crossroads in this relationship. The treatment you received calls for an honest explanation from your partner, or you’ll be divided by this nasty introduction for a long time, to the point of breaking up over it.
There’s a dark background of anger and jealousy in this family, perhaps based on the success of one brother vs. the other’s disappointments... or worse.
The only clear fact is that you can’t just ignore the divide that already exists between Them and You. Unless your partner can be forthcoming and you discover what it’s all about, you’re facing a gap of connection between you two that’ll grow and fester... just as his brother surely intended.
I proposed to a woman. She accepted and I gave her a ring that had belonged to my late mother. Some period of time later, the woman broke the engagement and ended our relationship. It’s been more than a year since. She still has the ring.
Is it customary for a woman to return an engagement ring? Should she return it? Should I ask her for it?
Missing the Sentimental Value
Interesting dilemma. My own opinion: Since she broke the engagement, she should return the ring... especially since it has sentimental value for you. But you should’ve mentioned that soon after she ended things. You could even have offered monetary value in exchange.
Now, here's what the website legalline.ca/legal says regarding Ontario case law: “If the person who received the ring breaks off the engagement, that person must give the ring back to the donor.
“If the person who gave the ring breaks off the engagement, that person is not usually entitled to get the ring back, unless, he or she explicitly stated that they wanted the ring back during the break up or very soon after.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the father upset by his wife’s refusal to vaccinate their children (December 10):
Reader – “I’m a frontline healthcare worker who’s immunized many adults.
“To the father:
“1. You DON’T need an OHIP card to be immunized for Covid-19 in Ontario.
“The number is helpful, but staff can look up the information in the provincial system without the OHIP number.
“2. Possibly the primary healthcare provider could give the number to the boys. Personal medical records are supposed to be available to the patient, so the only barrier could be ignorance of the person managing the request.
“The school also has the number in the student's file. The number’s helpful and will speed things up, but not essential for the Covid-19 vaccination.
“3. In Canada, children age 11 can give their own consent if the Healthcare provider finds the child capable of understanding the consent.
“The 16-year-old can give his own consent.”
Tip of the day:
An ongoing nasty element within a family may push a newcomer away unless the couple cut contact with their rejectors.