Dear Dr. Romance,
I have fallen in love with who I think is “the one” in my life. I’m a divorced twenty-five year old woman. I have two children by my ex husband, who is Caucasian. We have been separated for a year, and divorced for two months. I met my new love a month after the separation.
We have not taken our relationship to its full extent. We have gone out in the past year about five times. He works full time, and goes to school part time. He sees his children on the weekend (he has never been married). I have primary custody of my children, and they have met him about four times. He wants to take the relationship very slow, and I am in agreement with him. We both are focusing on our situation (school/work/kids) at the moment, until we have more to offer each other, and each of our lives is more stable. However, I am worried that I am going to be forced to choose between him and the closeness I have with my family.
My sister dates bi-racially, and has been with her boyfriend for almost four years. They have a beautiful daughter together, and my sister’s boyfriend is physically and verbally abusive towards my sister. My parents only accept my sister’s boyfriend as part of the family because they have a daughter together. They only tolerate his presence at family functions, and half the time he doesn’t go because he feels unwelcome/out of place/claims to be an “at home” kind of guy. I have expressed my feelings to my parents about how I feel about the guy I’m in love with. We live in Florida, and my parents don’t feel that an interracial relationship would thrive in this part of the country. I am so impressed with this guy I am in love with. I am euphoric every time I am with him. He makes me strive to be the best I can be at everything that I am. He dreams with me, and sets goals with me.
He is the kind of person I could see myself with twenty years from now. I have learned a lot from him since I have known him, and I respect him as I have only respected my father. I don’t know what to do about the situation with my parents. Every time I tell my mother about something my boyfriend has said, or how much I miss him, or whatever, if it has to do with my boyfriend, my mother turns the conversation in another direction. I don’t know how to handle this situation. Please help me.
Going slow is a great idea in any relationship, and especially important when you have children. It will also give your family time to come around. You say the only reason your parents accept your sister’s boyfriend is because of the grandchildren, but I think they care about you and your sister also.
Once they see that you have made a better choice this time around, they’ll probably relax. If it’s possible, I’d suggest you and your new guy spend some time with your parents, as you get a chance. If he’s such a good guy, they’ll figure it out. Your sister’s relationship is not a good one, so no wonder they’re a bit wary. They have enough reason not to like your sister’s husband, no matter what his race. I assume they love your children, too, and if they see that your children like this new person, and he treats all of you well, they’ll probably relax. They have good reason to worry, since you and your sister both have had relationship problems. Use “The Magic of Reassurance” to calm and soothe their fears, and get them on your side.
By all means, if you and this man are serious, let them get to know him. If they like him, and everyone gets along, your parents will probably come around. Money, sex, and kids will give you some pointers about blending your family, working with in-laws, and resolving whatever disputes arise in your relationship.