Red Responds: Her Father Won’t Accept Her Boyfriend

Maria in Missouri writes:

When I was eight years old (back in the ’60s), my family moved into a white neighborhood in the suburbs of Detroit. Because my family is hispanic, we had a very difficult time being accepted. It took time, but we were finally accepted. My father’s best friend at work was a black man named Lee. My youngest brother was born shortly after Lee passed away (he had been ill) and my father gave my brother the middle name Lee. A couple years ago, I began dating a black man who I love very much.

Our relationship has had its up and downs (we are currently in a down period and broken up) and my father is very much against my relationship for the sole reason that he is black. He told me he will not accept this relationship, that he is not welcome in his home, that I could do much better and blames my ex-husband because our marriage ended due to my ex’s infidelity. He said it is not a “kosher” relationship and is against his beliefs! I don’t understand where this is coming from. I am so heartbroken because of this. Even though my ex-boyfriend and I are broken up, I have hopes that things between us will work out. If we do get back together, will my father ever give the relationship his blessing or will it cause irreversible damage to my relationship with my father?

Dear Maria,

Prejudice is a funny thing, because it is selective. But, don’t be confused about the reasons he is so against your relationship. Your boyfriend being black is only part of the equation. Overall, your father just doesn’t believe your boyfriend is the best man for you. While his ideal relationship for you would be with a Hispanic man, he would concede his ideals if you are with a man, regardless of race, that he felt would treat you right and take care of you. He just doesn’t see your boyfriend as that person.

When I look at your relationship, the off-and-on pattern is very clear. So, even though you will come back together with your boyfriend, you will also break up with him again. It is definitely a rocky road for the two of you, complicated by your desire for your fathers’ approval. The two things combined don’t make for an easy future – you just need to decide if all the stress is worth it. Not just the stress from your father, but also the stress of the relationship with your boyfriend.

Your father will never fully give his blessing of this relationship, but he would learn to live with your decision, given enough time. However, it doesn’t look like this is going to be a major concern, because there will be a new love that enters your life and takes your heart. This is the man you will eventually marry… with your father’s blessings.

Good luck!
Ext. 9226

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