DEAR AMY: I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for six years. She moved into my house, and we shared a bedroom for five years. She has always been a religious Catholic who struggled with her belief that sex outside of wedlock is a sin.
She has always wanted to be a mom, and I have no desire to be a parent. She consulted a priest, and he advised her to stop sleeping with me unless we get married in the church. She moved out of the bedroom a year ago. I don’t believe we were “living in sin,” and I am hurt that she chose to reject me.
I have been divorced for 15 years, but she wants me to get an annulment and then marry her in order to resume our sexual relationship. If I marry her, she loses her alimony. I don’t think I can afford to support her and don’t want to get married again anyway.
I gave her plenty of notice that if she continued to reject me, I would start dating again. I have been on a few casual dates, but she now blames me for “cheating” and ruining our relationship. I think she’s the one that broke the bond. I still like her, and she still lives in my house, but in order to keep the peace, I feel I have to sneak around to pursue my romantic desires. She “cut me off,” but am I cheating? Am I selfish to want love without marriage? -- No Marriage in N.J.
DEAR MR. NO: I don’t relish being the person to tell you this, but you two seem to have broken up.
Let’s recap: She wants marriage and you don’t. She wants children and you don’t. You want sex outside of marriage and she doesn’t. And now you are dating other people.
Your girlfriend pulled a switcheroo on you after several years of being together. There is no point in blaming her for this, but please give her the benefit of your complete honesty and tell her that you have broken up with her. Given the circumstances, it is more than awkward for her to be living in your house. She needs to find another place to live.
DEAR AMY: We have otherwise terrific relatives who insist on imposing their inane and arcane religious beliefs on everyone they invite over for dinner. They’ll say: “You’ve got to pray before we’ll give you any food.”
Since we have a devout belief in not talking to ourselves — particularly in public — we find this extremely offensive.
What’s the best way to handle the situation, short of excommunicating the relatives from our lives? -- Sane Relatives
DEAR RELATIVES: Are you so peckish and intolerant that you can’t sit quietly and wait while other people pray in their own home?
I find it hard to imagine that your relatives could actually force you to pray out loud (I assume they do expect you to listen to them pray before serving the food).
I hope that because they are otherwise terrific, you could somehow manage to be kind enough to tolerate their expression of their own religious beliefs. It may be too late for that, however, because according to you their choice to pray in their own home at their own table is highly offensive. (I assume that these relatives praying aloud at your home before a meal is even more offensive.)
If your relatives are as intolerant and disrespectful as you are, you are going to have a problem sharing any meal with them, anywhere.
DEAR AMY: “Mitzvah Mom” was frustrated because some of the invited guests to her son’s bar mitzvah said they couldn’t make it to the religious portion but would go to the dinner celebration.
I think you’re going to hear from a lot of Jewish mothers (like me) who have a real problem with your answer. Just because you quoted a rabbi doesn’t make your answer correct. -- Upset
DEAR UPSET: I’m sure this subject is debatable, but I loved Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan’s suggestion to approach this with an open and hospitable heart and spirit.
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