Carolyn Hax: Dysfunction a lousy holiday tradition

FRIDAY, DEC. 10, 2010

Hax! My family is dysfunctional and fractured. For the holidays, I’ll most likely end up having buffet at the nearest casino with my dad and 13-year-old son. My mom says she can’t eat with us because she’s house-sitting and my sister lives out of state and will not be visiting. My boyfriend of two years will be spending the holidays with his mom and his out-of-town sisters, along with other friends and family.

Long story short, I’ve never met his mom and she has no desire to meet me. I mentioned to my boyfriend my depressing Thanksgiving situation and he didn’t say anything. He didn’t offer to talk to his mom about inviting me and my son. He didn’t respond on the situation at all.

We’ve discussed marriage, but how do I reconcile his refusal to invite me to a family function when he proclaims a desire to spend a lifetime with me? – Anonymous

Better question: Why did you skip straight from dropping hints to reconciling his “refusal” as if it were absolute?

If I read your account correctly, then you didn’t say to him that you wanted to be with him on Thanksgiving, that you wanted to meet his mom, that you wanted him to stand by you if you weren’t welcome at his mom’s. You didn’t say you wanted anything different from a casino buffet with your son and dad.

Meanwhile, if you think a casino buffet for Thanksgiving is depressing, then why is/was it even an option? Surely you could have made reservations at a restaurant that you didn’t equate with defeat?

Dysfunction in your extended family might be something you have to accept, but you don’t have to keep deferring to it in your own home. When you don’t have something you want, it’s your job, and no one else’s, either to get it or spin your straw into gold.

Follow Carolyn at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax.

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