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Annie’s Mailbox: Give her family chance to change

Thu., June 4, 2009, midnight

Dear Annie: I’ve been in an off-and-on relationship with “Denise” for seven years. We were high school sweethearts and attended the same college. A lot of the strain on our relationship can be attributed to her family not approving of our interracial romance. In fact, for years Denise was afraid to tell her father about us. Due to this, I have no relationship with her family.

Recently, we embarked on our careers and bought a home together. I think her dad is starting to come to terms with our relationship because I’ve been invited over for some family functions. However, I have not accepted any of the invitations. It’s too hard for me to forget about the past and some acts of discrimination that led to embarrassing situations. I also question the sincerity of these invites and whether I am being offered them out of some feeling of obligation.

I love Denise immensely and would like to marry her someday, but it’s difficult with all this tension hanging in the balance. What should I do? – B.B.

Dear B.B.: It serves no purpose to keep Denise’s family at a distance. They are making an effort to get to know you, and it will be better for everyone if you participate in this endeavor instead of holding grudges. Her family members may have behaved poorly in the past, but they cannot change their ways if you don’t give them the chance.

Vow to accept the next invitation. Put on your best face and greet them as if you are starting from scratch.

Denise will appreciate it.

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar are longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@

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