American girl fails Greek family's classical test


Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: My fiance, "Pan," and I have been together nearly two years. We fell in love quickly and knew we wanted to marry one day. We are loving, respectful and kind to each other. Our only source of conflict involves his family.

Pan and his family are Greek; I am American. From the beginning, Pan's father refused to speak to me or acknowledge me because I am not Greek. I am expected to hide from his father and uncles, whether it be in a bedroom, the car outside their house, or in the office at the family business. The rest of the family, his mother, sister and cousins, try to find fault with my character. They say I'm too quiet, too American, too young and not pretty enough.

In the beginning, Pan assured me that "in time" his family would come around. Well, I'm running out of patience. Abby, Pan is 35. I'm 23 — mature, kind, attractive and hardworking. I have a full-time job and at night I attend classes to earn my master's in clinical psychology.

Three months ago, I bought a home and Pan moved in with me, but this issue with his family is tearing us apart. I no longer want to stay hidden and celebrate holidays alone. I want Pan to stick up for me when his family says bad things. I feel it's time for him to choose sides and stop remaining "neutral" to please a family that's acting ridiculous. Is this the end of the road for us?

Hurting In New York

Dear Hurting: Frankly, I hope so. Men who are "loving, respectful and kind" do not tolerate their women being treated the way you have been. Face it, this "golden Greek" is 35 and never married. You will never be good enough in his family's eyes for reasons they have made only too clear. My advice is to evict him and run in the opposite direction. If he asks you why, tell him it just didn't "pan" out.

Dear Abby: My wife and I retired several years ago and moved back to Scandinavia, where we spend most of the year. We live on a fixed income.

A number of people have contacted us either asking to visit or have a family friend visit us to show them around the country. Abby, the cost of gasoline reached the equivalent of $7.50 a gallon last summer, plus the cost of road tolls and ferries makes it quite expensive.

How do we let people know that we can't afford to just drive them around, plus offer them food and lodgings in our home?

John

Dear John: As much as people complain about the fluctuations in gas prices in the United States, I'm sure they have little concept of what the prices are like in Europe, which are higher. The most effective way to get the message across is to tell them plainly what the problem is. If your prospective guests are truly friends, they will understand. And if not, they're not friends.

Dear Abby: My 16-year-old brother was arrested for stealing a bottle of alcohol from a grocery store. I am heartbroken. He really isn't a bad kid. He has been raised in a loving household where he has wanted for nothing. I don't understand. This isn't the first incident of trouble he's been involved in, but it's the most serious. His only defense for his actions was that he didn't think he'd "get caught."

He knows I love him and that no one expects him to be perfect. We just want him to be smart and consider the consequences of his actions. How can I help him? I live 30 miles away.

Heartbroken In Chicago

Dear Heartbroken: Let your brother know you love him, but recognize that the surest way for him to learn responsible behavior is to suffer the consequences of his actions.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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