Dear Carolyn: A friend divorced her husband three years ago. He was verbally abusive and had an affair. Since then, she bashes her husband and men in general, bashes men on Facebook, writes stuff for women to group together and stand up to men, etc.
This is making me really uncomfortable. How do I tell her to ease off? Not all men are that way.
It’s not your place to tell her to ease off on her opinions. They’re hers and she’s entitled to them.
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And you are entitled to yours: “Your ex deserves every bit of your anger, but he’s just one man. I expect that if a man publicly bashed all women out of disgust for his ex-wife, you’d be outraged by that.”
I realize this is just another version of “just talk to her about it.” I also realize that someone who has gone scorched-earth against all men is going to receive your message badly — but I believe that delivering it in defense of the entire gender she’s maligning, with care to validate her feelings about her ex-husband, is the only right thing to do.
Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend really wants to meet my parents. He was divorced a few years ago, and his ex-mother-in-law apparently did a lot to make his marriage difficult.
He says he can’t be serious with me unless he meets my parents. He basically admitted that if he didn’t like my parents, he would probably leave me.
My parents are lovely people, but a bit elitist, and my boyfriend would not measure up to their standards. I feel like we’re not strong enough to take this step right now. Is there a compromise?
Maybe, but I’m struggling with a bias toward just getting it over with.
Your parents are either going to be an obstacle or not. I’m also not thrilled with his either-I-like-your-parents-or-I’m-gone attitude.
Even if we came up with the perfect compromise, it would still fail on the most important measure: It’s not emerging from a mutual desire to work together to ensure you both get what you need. That’s what gets couples through everything — including in-law issues.
What strained his ex-marriage? It wasn’t his mother-in-law; it was his and his ex’s inability to work together to neutralize his mother-in-law. Besides, by operating as if other women are as controlled by their parents, hasn’t he revealed that his baggage is controlling him?