Q: I’ve been with my boyfriend, “Jake,” for two years. We are both 32. Since the beginning, his sister, “Michelle” (who is 26), has never liked me. Jake admits there’s no reason for it. He thinks she’s just looking out for him because he’s had bad relationships in the past.
Michelle makes me very uncomfortable during family events by making rude comments, and she makes a point of excluding me from any event she is hosting. She has told people that I “shoved her” and accuses me of refusing to let her talk to her brother. Neither is true.
I have asked Jake to ask his sister to apologize and make amends, but he insists she’ll do it when “hell freezes over.” He thinks I should try to make amends even though I have never done anything wrong.
I’m at a loss. I don’t think I should apologize for something I’ve never done. Abby, she has belittled me in any encounter we’ve had. The rest of the family shrugs and says, “That’s just the way she is.” Michelle has never liked any of Jake’s girlfriends, so this seems to be a pattern for her. I’m afraid it will eventually lead to the end of Jake’s and my relationship.
I love him very much, and I wish he could see my side on this. Could you please give me some advice, Abby? — Not My Fault in Alberta, Canada
A: Michelle’s fixation on her brother isn’t normal or healthy. That Jake has been willing to tolerate it and not warn her to knock it off means that as long as you are with him, you will be subjected to her mistreatment. You may love Jake, but as long as he is under the thumb of his jealous and possessive sister, you will continue to be abused and maligned. My advice is to cut your losses.
Q: I am an African-American woman who was in a relationship with a Hispanic man. I am now a single parent of a beautiful 6-month-old son who is my pride and joy.
My biracial son, who looks exactly like me, is very fair-skinned. My problem is, any time I leave the house with him, strangers feel the need to ask me rude questions. I have been asked about my child’s father’s ethnicity and asked if I was baby-sitting someone else’s child. I’m left flabbergasted and speechless. What should I say the next time a stranger asks about my son’s race, which is none of their business? — Colorblind in Texas
A: It’s normal for people to be curious. If I were you, I wouldn’t tell them it’s none of their business because if you do, you will come across as angry and defensive. When your son is older, it may make him wonder if there is something wrong with his appearance. A better way to handle it would be to matter-of-factly just tell the truth and move on.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.