Q: Dear Meredith,
I am in my early 30s, as is the man I am dating. We have been together for a little under a year. I am very secure in our relationship and respect and love him as he does me. I can definitely see a future with him. He treats me like gold and we do all kinds of fun stuff together. We get along great.
The problem is that my mother and sister think that I am selling myself short. The main argument that they have against me dating this man is that he is not attractive enough and that physically we don't appear to be a match. I can't even begin to explain how hurtful this is to me. I am honestly saying that there is nothing wrong with his appearance. He is an in-shape man who I find attractive. Also, I can't believe that the two women closest to me would react like this to someone I clearly care about and hope to have a future with. If he is to be my husband, isn't it plain awful that I already have their opinion in the back of my head?
I went out with my sister a few weeks ago and she said to my face, "How are you honestly attracted to him?” I was shocked. This isn't a scenario where I am dating some old man to support me; my boyfriend and I are on the same scale as far as education, income, and age.
My question is, how can I not let this get to me? What can I say to my mom and my sister to let them know that this is not acceptable to say to me? How can I make them see the guy that I see, the one who is caring and kind? I’m just so tired of their opinions …
– Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder, Boston
A: BITEOTB, your mother and sister are in the wrong (obviously). You're allowed to tell them how you feel and order them to stop making these comments.
Try: "You know what's unattractive? Two people making me feel bad for being in love with a wonderful man." Follow that up with: "I'd appreciate it if we didn't discuss my boyfriend’s appearance ever again. I think that he is lovely, and you should be happy that I'm happy. I am no longer interested in what you think about my partner's face."
Your boyfriend sounds awesome. And you're right -- beauty is subjective.
As far as making them understand why he's attractive, well, I just wouldn't worry about that. They don't have to think that he's cute. Many people are repulsed by the look of this guy. But I'd make out with that. So ... yeah. Forget the rest of the world. If you're happy and he treats you well, you're doing just fine. Let your family know that they've crossed a line, and then move on with your fantastic boyfriend.
Readers? Should she be as aggressive with her family as I've suggested? Anyone else have a good speech for her to give the sister and mother? Why would her family be so concerned about his appearance? Is there something else going on here? Has this ever happened to any of you?
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.