Advice

Please Advise: My boyfriend’s family hates me

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My boyfriend’s family hates me. Is it worth trying to win them over or is avoidance the best policy?

Each week, the inbox of our venerable advice columnist, Miss Information, is flooded with queries. And although she makes a valiant effort, she cannot answer them all. To deal with the surplus, we've decided to turn to you. So, don your spectacles and help this woman out. You can give her advice in the comments below, or, if you'd like to share what you wrote with your friends, on our Facebook page.

Dear Nerve,

My boyfriend’s family has never seemed to approve of me. There’s a couple of reasons for this: we’re political opposites, and I’m an agnostic Oregonian, which, as super-conservative Southern Baptists, they find just shy of “Practicing Voodoo Priestess.” I work as a bartender and do freelance work instead of having a traditional job, I have tattoos, I was raised by hippies. Really, all you need to know is that they nearly disowned my boyfriend when they found out we’d be “living in sin.”

When we do all get together, I’m cordial to the point of being a Stepford Wife. I’m polite, nonconfrontational, and helpful. That’s not to say I’m fawning or particularly quiet around them (because I will not be cowed into not being myself), but I avoid doing or saying anything that could give them more ammo against me. That said, with the holidays approaching, I’m not sure how much longer I can do this. We’ve been together for five years, and their feelings toward me don’t seem to be thawing any. Should I just excuse myself from his upcoming family gatherings or keep ice-skating uphill?

— On the Outs With the In-Laws