20 May 2013

Can I Be With Someone My Friends And Family Disapprove Of?

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Hi Grace,
I’ve been with my boyfriend for about a year now and I genuinely feel like I’ve met the one for me. I’ve been through a fair amount of relationships in my time and have never felt this way before (cheesy but true!). He’s pretty much perfect, except for the fact that my friends and family completely disapprove. Several years ago he was arrested for something he says he didn’t do, and I believe him, but in a small community like ours it’s hard for people to forget something like that, and I fear my friends and family never will. Is it possible to have a relationship with someone everyone you love looks down on? It didn’t go so well for Romeo and Juliet, after all! Any thoughts welcome! Thanks, anonymous.

Dear Anonymous:
Thanks for a very interesting letter telling me about your somewhat unusual situation. You certainly have some difficulties to deal with at an apparently young age – I’m guessing from your comparison to Romeo and Juliet of course – and I hope you can learn from this experience and build a stronger relationship with your boyfriend.

As is many times the case, I have to make some assumptions about your story and ask some questions that you will have to answer for yourself. I presume from the delicate way you phrase it that he was actually convicted of a crime and punished for the same, but I could be wrong. I believe it makes a difference in your life because of the effect his story has had on the people you love, and the small town you all live in. If he was only arrested and not prosecuted but blamed nonetheless, then your family and friends have a very slender case to base their judgments on. If he served time then their position is much stronger, as you can surely understand.

However, it is clear that no matter what the reality is, you have accepted his story of what really happened, and you believe that he is innocent. Ask yourself very carefully and honestly, do I know the whole story, or am I only getting his side of it? Are there other reasons that everyone would feel the way they do about him and his history, or is it a simple case of being unforgiven unjustly?

Another important aspect of your situation is good and open communication – have you talked to him about your feelings, how he is perceived by your loved ones, and the obstacles these things represent for both of you? You have to be sure he understands the situation from your point of view so that the two of you can work together to solve the problem. Communication with those whose opinions you are concerned about is likewise vital – you possibly could find an ally who has some influence with others in the family and community.

Finally, if you are completely satisfied with his side of the story and you are genuinely in love with him, you may just have to accept that there will be repercussions from your decision to make a life together. But chances are things will change over time, especially if your boyfriend and future husband demonstrates beyond any doubt that he is a trustworthy and decent human being.


Grace Pamer is a full time romance and relationship writer. She writes romance and marriage proposal tip columns for various publications including YourTango.com and GalTime.com. As seen on FoxNews.com, Cosmopolitan.com, DivineCaroline.com and CanadianLiving.com to name but a few.

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