2016-09-17 / Entertainment

Father’s outburst changes boyfriend’s opinion

Sense & Sensitivity

DEAR HARRIETTE: I come from a mostly Puerto Rican background, and I visit my father in Puerto Rico frequently. On my last visit, I flew with my boyfriend so he could meet my father. While we were there, my father volunteered to fix us some food. We thanked him and told him to let us know if he needed any help. After about 10 minutes in the kitchen, he began berating me in Spanish about how my boyfriend won’t want to stay with me if he thinks I can’t cook. I’ve grown up with that kind of thinking, and I let it roll off my back. My father didn’t know that my boyfriend has a pretty strong understanding of Spanish and caught on to what was happening. This created a generational awkwardness, and now I fear that my boyfriend doesn’t respect my father as much as he used to. There’s no way I can take back what my father said to me, but I want to know how I can paint my father positively in my boyfriend’s eyes. – Speaking in Tongues, Charlotte, North Carolina

DEAR SPEAKING IN TONGUES: Start by speaking honestly with your boyfriend about codes of conduct and mores in your family. Be candid about your father’s views, and compassionate as well. Explain to your boyfriend that your father, in his own way, was trying to ensure that the two of you will be able to have a positive relationship. In his eyes, that requires you to follow old-school rules. Tell your boyfriend that you appreciate that he loves you for who you are. Ask your boyfriend to forgive your father for his old-school ways.

Tell your father that you really like your boyfriend and want the two of them to get along. Let your father know that your boyfriend understands Spanish. Encourage your boyfriend to speak to your father in Spanish.

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DEAR HARRIETTE: At what point in a relationship can you invite someone as a plus one to a wedding? I have been casually seeing someone for the summer, and I have a wedding to attend this fall. I received a plus one, and I don’t know if I know this girl well enough to bring her to a wedding. Besides, isn’t the invitation implying we’ll be the ones at the altar one day? – Don’t Want to Fly Solo, Plymouth, Massachusetts

DEAR DON’T WANT TO FLY SOLO: You don’t have to read that much into a wedding invitation. If you received a plus-one invite without a name attached to your guest, it is solely up to you who gets to be your date. Of course you are not expected to marry that person, nor should she be jockeying for position to catch the bouquet.

The reason that couples are often extremely careful about adding a plus one to a wedding invitation has to do with budget and keeping costs down. Secondarily, it can also have to do with creating a spirit of intimacy and familiarity at the wedding. Ask yourself if you think your current date would enjoy this wedding and if she could have fun without wondering if you are about to pop the question. Indeed, consider if you feel comfortable asking her as your date to share a fun evening as you make it clear that there is no veiled commitment hidden in your back pocket. If you two can agree to attend and share a great moment, go for it.

The one additional point I will make is that you should not invite anyone who will not be completely willing to offer good wishes to the couple getting married. A wedding is a sacred event. Every participant should bring that sober understanding to the ceremony and should continue holding that positive energy during the reception.

— Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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