DEAR AMY: I am in my early 20s, and have recently started seeing someone from a different race. He and I went to high school together. He is honestly the best guy I’ve ever dated. He is honest, funny, sweet and caring. He treats me wonderfully. I have always been very private when it comes to my relationships, and have never introduced my parents to anyone I’m interested in. However, I felt like I wanted to slowly introduce him to my family. Even if it never turns into a long-term relationship, I feel like I’ve found a good friend. My parents were OK at first, occasionally asking if we were dating (to which I answered no). However, my parents now say that if I want to live under their roof (I moved home to save money for law school), this relationship will not be happening. They say, “This world already has enough problems; you don’t need to add this one (meaning an interracial relationship) to the mix.” My parents have always been loving and supportive, and it seems so silly that they are basing their judgment of him purely on the color of his skin. Shouldn’t they only care about the way he treats me? What should I do?
DEAR UPSET: Yes, your parents should only care about how you are treated. But — guess what — parents are human and fallible, and don’t always make choices their children appreciate.
Parents who have adult children living at home have the right to control the use of the family car, expect financial or chore contributions, and make conditions concerning smoking, drinking, drug use, and occasional reasonable curfews. These are all lifestyle choices that have an impact on the household.
They don’t have the right to choose your friends. However, your folks own the house you’re living in. They can set up whatever structure they want, even if it is unreasonable.
Your boyfriend sounds like a nice guy, and you should have a relationship with him if you want to. If they ask if you are dating him, tell them that you are in a relationship but you don’t want to categorize it.
If your folks draw the line and ask you to leave home over this, then you will have to make a tough choice.
DEAR AMY: My single daughter is 47, never married, does not date, has a great job, and is very attractive — but she has a serious problem. As a renter, she has moved six times in six years from one apartment to another. She was a condo owner before that. Each time she moves it is because she has had major problems with her neighbors. Each time she feels that one of her adjacent neighbors makes noise purposely to irritate her. And this irritation goes on continuously when she is at home. She will not talk to these neighbors in fear that it will make the situation worse. She does not retaliate in any way and pretends that everything is OK, but she is burning up inside with anger. Can you help?
DEAR WORRIED: Your daughter is either very restless, extremely sensitive, or (possibly) somewhat unstable. Her pattern of always having the same issue, and then moving to cope with it, is destabilizing (and expensive).
You should suggest that she see a counselor. Professional coaching could help her to find strategies to cope with her anxieties, as well as giving her the courage to use her own voice when she wants to describe or express a problem. She is an adult and is making choices concerning her own life — ultimately you must respect her freedom to live (and move through the world) the way she wants to.
DEAR AMY: I disagree with your answer to “An Older Lonely Heart,” the woman engaged to a widower with a 10-year-old daughter. I agree that bereavement counseling would be helpful for the 10-year-old, but think that sleeping with the girl and her dad should not be out of the question. There are many societies where the whole family sleeps in one room, and making the transition into this family by sleeping together may be a helpful step. As the girl becomes a teen and wants to have friends stay over, having her design a room of her own would be the next transition to independence.
DEAR RAE: This father and his young daughter are sharing a bed. The primary reason this fiance should not co-sleep with them is that she doesn’t want to.