Dear Amy: I am a 24-year-old woman and have been with my wonderful partner for the past seven years. He is also 24. We have lived together for several years. We are in a committed, loving relationship and see marriage in the future, but not as soon as my father would like.
I do not live in the same state as my parents, but visit as often as possible. The last few trips, my very Catholic father has been pushing marriage or requesting we break up, which I think is ridiculous.
I have told him many times to not push it, because we need to grow mentally and financially before marrying. We only graduated from college a year ago.
My father is becoming overly aggressive, and I am playing with the idea of telling him to stop minding my relationship or I will cut ties with him and not visit.
I am very close to both of my parents, but I fear my request will fall on deaf ears and he will continue to badger my partner and me.
How do I calm my pushy father down?
Amy says: Before cutting him off completely, you should give him fair warning by simply and calmly asking him, again, to stop. The next time this starts, put your hand on his arm and say, “Dad, please. You’re not helping. I don’t want to discuss this with you. Please stop.” Follow up with a letter stating that you understand his position and that he doesn’t need to restate it.
If his insistence is a result of his religious convictions, then that likely supersedes your views. Prepare yourself for this to continue, and if it does, then staying away from home would seem like a natural consequence of his behavior and the discomfort it causes you.
Dear Amy: A relative visits our home occasionally wearing a T-shirt announcing “Christ Died for Your Sins.” He knows that I’m a nonbeliever and has obviously put the shirt on specifically for the visit.
I’m not offended by the shirt, but I am perplexed and irritated. It seems like a passive-aggressive form of proselytizing.
Should I say something in a nonconfrontational way or just continue to try to ignore the shirt?
Amy says: You could engage in your own form of passive proselytizing by wearing a “Smile, There Is No Hell” or “God Made Me an Atheist” T-shirt, but if you’re curious about your relative’s motivation, then ask him about it: “I’m wondering about your shirt. You’ve worn it here before. Do you want to talk about it?”
If the idea of discussing religion gives you hives, then definitely do your best to ignore this shirt and simply step around the elephant in the room.