Dear Carolyn:

My boyfriend and I have been together three years. In the past year, his mother has become more and more outspoken in how much she doesn't like me. I know (and my boyfriend agrees) that I have been nothing but kind, warm and open to her.

She says the main reason I am "wrong" is that I am not the same religion as he is. She tells him he must not love her to "do this" (i.e., date me.) She says he is "driving her away." He responds that she raised him well, that he is making good choices, that their relationship wouldn't be ruined unless she wanted it to be and that he loves her very much. She just gives him the silent treatment.

I want to get married and have babies -- but he lives with the eternal optimism that he'll be able to convince his mom to like me and we can marry with her blessing. Is there anything we can do to open his mom's heart to me? I don't care if she's ever nice to me; I just want to spend the rest of my life with the man I love, and not at the cost of his relationship with his mother.

His Mom Hates Me!

I hear you. I just want to spend all my money on shoes, and not at the expense of my credit. Unfortunately, everything costs something. Buying one thing means you leave something else on the shelf; choosing to save one thing means you tacitly choose to sacrifice another; pleasing one person means you risk upsetting others.

Granted, the mother's price is both high and arbitrary; she could remove it altogether, if she chose to, and let her son find happiness as he sees fit. But that hardly means she will -- and that's the (well-meaning) mistake both you and your boyfriend are making. You're hoping to reason with the unreasonable, to haggle someone's nonnegotiable price.

There is something you guys can do, though: Give up. Concede that someone has to concede. Either he chooses you in spite of Mom, or he dumps you in spite of himself, or you dump him out of self-preservation. Regardless, it's Mom 1, One Big Happy Family 0.

Unfortunately (twice in one column, not a good omen), this is mainly between mother and son; all you can do is: risk soul-erosion by leaving this unresolved, or ask your boyfriend to stop sniffing fairy dust, or leave if he won't. That's the most traumatic option, yes -- except when you consider what's likely to happen if you choose one of the other two.

Dear Carolyn:

A co-worker is sooo happy with her new fiance. After meeting him, my "gaydar" went off. Turns out that everyone who has met this guy has come to the conclusion that Mr. Wonderful is gay, or at least bisexual. Do we say anything to our co-worker or do we let nature take its course?


Suspecting, suspecting strongly and suspecting strongly en masse do not constitute knowledge. A good rule, especially with co-workers: When you know nothing, say nothing. And ixnay on the ossip-gay, please.

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