“Not a real reg”

Since: Jan 13

Location hidden

#1 Aug 17, 2013
DEAR ABBY: I recently started dating one of my graduate school classmates. We come from different cultures, but we get along great and I really like him.

My problem is he's very close to his family, who seem to like me very much, but I always feel left out around them. An example: The nine of us went out to dinner and the whole time they were speaking to each other in their native tongue while I just sat there. Then, after dinner, his parents asked why I was so quiet.

The family speaks English fluently and are otherwise nice to me. When I confronted my boyfriend about it, he said it would be disrespectful for him to speak to his elders in English.

I want a future with this man, but I know it won't work out if I can't be included in his family. Am I wrong to think they should involve me in the conversation?-- OUTSIDER IN NEW YORK

DEAR OUTSIDER: In light of the fact that everyone knows you don't speak the language, their behavior does seem inconsiderate -- particularly if it's happening often. Perhaps you should speak to them about it and ask to be included in the conversation. An alternative would be to take a crash course in their native tongue so you'll have some idea about what's being said.(And won't they be surprised when you respond!)

One thing about your letter does concern me, however, because it raises a potential red flag. Does your boyfriend's unwillingness to stand up for you foretell a pattern of always deferring to his parents? If that's the case, it could be a source of frustration and conflict for you in the future. Please think about it.

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a steady, committed relationship with my boyfriend, "Carey," for four years. We have discussed our future and have agreed that we want to get married and start a family soon.

As a child, I always dreamed of a big, fancy wedding. Carey, on the other hand, says he doesn't want one. He feels it would be a waste of money. After a lot of discussion, we decided to compromise and have a courthouse wedding followed by a small, simple reception.

My biggest issue is he insists we don't need rings, and he refuses to get me one. Although I have explained that a ring would symbolize our love and life together, and it would mean a great deal to me personally, he won't budge. Now I'm beginning to doubt whether I want to marry him.

What should I do? Am I being superficial?-- CONFUSED ABOUT MARRIAGE

DEAR CONFUSED: I don't think that wanting a wedding ring is superficial. It's normal. Furthermore, if you have any doubts about marrying this young man, you should put the wedding on hold until the two of you have had premarital counseling. Arguments about how money should be spent have ruined marriages, and it appears the two of you are planets apart on this important issue.

DEAR ABBY: What is proper when opening gift cards with money enclosed? My family has made it a habit for the nieces to open their cards in front of everyone. I feel it should be done in private.-- UNCOMFORTABLE IN PENNSYLVANIA DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Opening the card is fine. Reading the sentiments inside is also perfectly acceptable. But to reveal the amount of the check or money enclosed is a no-no.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#2 Aug 17, 2013
1: Future? Pattern? They RECENTLY started dating, her words. Meeting that much family seems a bit much. When they asked why LW was so quiet, that was her time to say, "Surely, you know I don't understand or speak X."
They sound rude.

2: Four years and he won't even buy a universally-recognized symbol of a lifelong commitment, and bartered you down to the courthouse? You have different outlooks.
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#3 Aug 17, 2013
LW1 - They sound rude. Very. I agree with cheluzal. When they ask you why you have been quiet, say, "Surely, you know I don't speak or understand X."

In the meantime, Abby must not have ever learned another language because if she had, she would know that taking a "crash course" in a particular language is not sufficient to participate equally in a fluent, informal, multi-party conversation of native speakers. In a crash course, you can pick up basic phrases, rudiments of conversation, fundamentals of grammar and vocabulary, but not the ability to talk fleetly. I bet any high school or college student who has taken a semester of Spanish I and then took a trip to a Spanish-speaking country had quite a rude awakening, realizing that it took them a long time to be able to actually understand everything that was being said around them and to respond quickly and fluently to anything but very simple questions.
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#4 Aug 17, 2013
LW2 - Can you afford a big fancy wedding? No? Then your fiance has a point about the bash. Rings? I am not so sure. He seems to be a cheapskate of tremendous magnitude. You can get very inexpensive, very simple rings to symbolize your union. You can probably get a pair of very plain thin gold ones for $100 -$150 for a pair, but they don't even have to be gold. In any case, you have dramatically different views on money. Premarital counseling. Stat. Postpone the marriage.
not a ghost

San Antonio, TX

#5 Aug 17, 2013
I'm sure I saw LW1 a few years ago, and the writer was strongly encouraged to ask "the nice family" to help her learn the language whether she wants to keep dating this man or not.
Mimi

United States

#6 Aug 17, 2013
1: beyond rude. They know you don't speak the language AND they are fluent English speakers. Keeping you on the outside. Boyfriend is a baby and won't try to include you or get them to speak English...does not have your back. Disrespectful to speak to them in a language they understand well? Whatever.../face palm

2: Wrong guy for you. Move on now. Don't get married. Sorry but a couple of cheapie wedding bands is toouch? WAY different priorities.
Julie

Chicago, IL

#7 Aug 17, 2013
LW1: Run fast and far. The family is being incredibly rude, deliberately. You are an outsider. And your wuss boyfriend will *never* stand up to them for you.

LW2: He "refuses" to get you a WEDDING RING? <eyeroll>
NewsFlash: He Doesn't Want To Marry You.

Since: Mar 09

Pittsburgh, PA

#8 Aug 17, 2013
Mimi wrote:
They know you don't speak the language
Are we sure about that??
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#9 Aug 17, 2013
Mimi wrote:
1: beyond rude. They know you don't speak the language AND they are fluent English speakers. Keeping you on the outside. Boyfriend is a baby and won't try to include you or get them to speak English...does not have your back. Disrespectful to speak to them in a language they understand well? Whatever.../face palm
It reminds me of a radically different culture, and one in which women might not be respected. Dynamic with grown son speaks volumes...
pde

Gilberts, IL

#10 Aug 17, 2013
Cass wrote:
LW2 - Can you afford a big fancy wedding? No? Then your fiance has a point about the bash. Rings? I am not so sure. He seems to be a cheapskate of tremendous magnitude. You can get very inexpensive, very simple rings to symbolize your union. You can probably get a pair of very plain thin gold ones for $100 -$150 for a pair, but they don't even have to be gold. In any case, you have dramatically different views on money. Premarital counseling. Stat. Postpone the marriage.
I and my husband were looking at rather expensive rings when we decided to stop in at one of those big chain stores (Kays or Zales or something similar) and found exactly what we were looking for for a 2 for $125 deal. Sure they are only 14 caret gold, but whatever. They are standard gold bands with milgrain on them.

“What's it to ya?”

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#11 Aug 17, 2013
cheluzal wrote:
<quoted text>
It reminds me of a radically different culture, and one in which women might not be respected. Dynamic with grown son speaks volumes...
Definitely. LW would always be an outsider, unless maybe it's one of those cultures where producing a male child gets you status or something. <shrug> Definitely not something *I* would sign on for.

Husband's family doesn't speak English. He does, but the other 8 of his immediate family don't. Even so, with their limited English word knowledge (his sister took it for one semester in HS like we take Spanish, or German, or French, or whatever...) they still tried to talk to me in English and include me whenever possible. And many, many, many, time his mom, or one of his brothers, or sisters would stop in the middle of a conversation and translate it in to French for me so that I could be part of what was happening. The ability to speak Arabic still eludes me...apparently. <shrug> That's respectful. What LW's BF's family, and BF are doing...is not.

“What's it to ya?”

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#12 Aug 17, 2013
pde wrote:
<quoted text>
I and my husband were looking at rather expensive rings when we decided to stop in at one of those big chain stores (Kays or Zales or something similar) and found exactly what we were looking for for a 2 for $125 deal. Sure they are only 14 caret gold, but whatever. They are standard gold bands with milgrain on them.
In the past, when I was young and idealistic, and felt that love was all that mattered, plain gold bands were fine. Now, I want platinum and diamonds. Blue diamonds to be specific. <shrug> YMMV.:D
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#13 Aug 18, 2013
Mimi Seattle wrote:
<quoted text>
In the past, when I was young and idealistic, and felt that love was all that mattered, plain gold bands were fine. Now, I want platinum and diamonds. Blue diamonds to be specific. <shrug> YMMV.:D
I could elope and be happy but I want a nice diamond ring. Not grossly expensive, but I don't want some teeny thing you can barely see.
I've waited a long time and will wear it proudly for life; it matters, and I don't think that should be a bad thing. ;)

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#14 Aug 19, 2013
L1: I agree. They're being rude.

L2: Future groom is a huge cheapskate. That's not a bad thing if he finds someone who wants to livce that lifestyle. Doesn't seem he found that. The LW at the very least should get premarital counselling. I don't see this working. Can you imagine if they have to buy a car or house? He'd probably want an old beater car or the house in the bad side of town b/c it's cheaper. Or, or -- a studio apartment 3rd floor walk-up with no air conditioning

L3: You open the card, read it and say "Thank you SO much!" That's it.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#15 Aug 19, 2013
On LW1, I wonder if the family didn't notice that they were speaking in their native tongue. This has happened to me at work several times, where Indian engineers got so wrapped up in what they were discussing, they didn't notice they had stopped discussing it in English.

I'd try again but if she has pointed out that she doesn't understand and they continue to do it, then yes, they are being pointedly rude and she should either get used to that or dump him.

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