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by Abigail Van Buren

Parents Oppose Relationship With Man of Different Culture

DEAR ABBY: I am a 25-year-old college student on the verge of graduation. Over the past three months, I have been dating a slightly younger man (he's 21). We get along well, and I thoroughly enjoy his company. He has never been anything but kind and supportive.

My parents have an issue with the match. My boyfriend is Latino, born and raised in a South American country. He speaks and understands English well, although speaking it does make him a little nervous. I speak Spanish fluently, so when we talk to each other, he speaks in Spanish and I speak in English, and we have no problem communicating.

My parents think that relationships (especially marriages) are already hard enough, and adding cultural differences to the equation is a dangerous gamble for my future happiness. They strongly oppose my continuing my relationship with him. Do you think their argument is valid?

I've looked up statistics that say marriages between a Latino man and white woman are the most likely to end in divorce (not that I'm thinking of marrying him any time soon, but one of my future goals is to be in a happy marriage, and I realize that you marry who you date). The idea of ending a relationship with someone I adore based on statistics is upsetting to me. I'd really appreciate your thoughts. -- GROWN-UP IN UTAH

DEAR GROWN-UP: You have been dating this man for only three months. By the age of 25, the decision about whom you decide to eventually marry should be yours, not your parents', regardless of how well-meaning they are. Do not let statistics rule your life because there are always exceptions. Let this play out, and you will have your answer.