Dear Amy: I’m a gay male who’s been in a relationship with the same man for the last 25 years.
Both of our families have been supportive of our relationship over the years.
During the Christmas holidays, we usually receive Christmas cards from my partner’s side of the family with annual letters inside of them.
These letters usually tell stories about the happenings of the current year.
What troubles me every year is that some of the Christmas cards are addressed only to my partner’s name when the family member knows me very well and knows of our long relationship.
As for the letters inside these Christmas cards, many of them only mention my partner but say nothing about me!
I imagine some members of my partner’s family may feel awkward writing anything about me and having to explain who I am to anyone else receiving the Christmas cards with letters inside of them.
I’ve expressed my feeling of disappointment to my partner. He usually just says to me that he doesn’t understand it either and that we should not give this importance.
While I agree with my partner’s view, I’m still left with what the right/correct thing to do is. What do you think? — Disappointed at Christmas
Dear Disappointed: I agree with you that it is disrespectful for these family members to basically deny your presence in your partner’s life, by not addressing cards to you, and by not including you or even acknowledging you in their annual narratives.
Your partner should address this with his parents (and perhaps with more distant family members), not only by saying that this is annoying and rude, but to patently ask them to adopt a different course of action: “Mom and Dad, we love your Christmas letter, but could you please remember that I have a life partner? He’s a member of the family, and it’s embarrassing when you leave him out. Honestly, this exclusion hurts both of our feelings.”
That having been said, most people who write Christmas letters write most passionately and comprehensively about their direct relatives (children, grandchildren). In-laws and partners should be mentioned by name, however.
You should also help to turn the page on this by publishing your own Christmas letter. Model the behavior and the tone you’d like to see — with you and your guy side-by-side, communicating as equals and family members.
Dear Amy: I’ve been with my boyfriend for over seven years. We are both 35.
We are both committed, love each other and have similar goals. We just bought a house together.
I don’t need marriage as an expression of love, but for practical reasons and also for the annoying social reasons (I’d like to not get hit on so often/or embarrassed to still use the word “boyfriend”). I’ve never wanted a wedding, but now ... I really want to get married.
He thinks marriage is not necessary. I’ve found myself getting resentful, and now I don’t know what to do. Can you help? — Leaning Toward Matrimony
Dear Leaning: Please don’t tell yourself that “getting hit on” is such an annoyance that it is forcing you toward marriage. First of all, getting married will not change that (if you think it would, then simply wear a band on your left hand and wave it at the next guy who hits on you).
Mainly, the reasons you cite for wanting to get married are silly red herrings. (Furthermore, you know it.)
Marriage is bigger, and more important than that.
It’s OK to want to get married, and after being with your guy for over seven years, marriage would seem like a natural next step, unless, of course, you have been going along with your boyfriend’s “marriage isn’t necessary” concept and not speaking from your own heart.
What you should do now is talk about it. Tell him, “Honey, I have news. It turns out I do want to get married. This feeling seems to have snuck up on me, but now that I know I feel this way, I need to talk about it.”
Dear Amy: Why were you so harsh on those poor grandparents [“Unmerry Christmas”] who simply wanted to see their first grandchild on his first Christmas? I felt so sorry for these people, whose in-laws were so rude to them on Christmas Day. — Upset With YOU
Dear Upset: Many people responded similarly. I was concerned that this couple admitted that they had “crashed” the other grandparents’ home on Christmas Day.
Honestly, all parties should have behaved differently.