DEAR NATALIE: My girlfriend told me that she doesn’t want to exchange gifts this year. She lost her job due to Covid-19 and I think she is feeling really down. I really want to cheer her up and get her something really special, but I know her. I know she will be upset with me because she will feel bad that she couldn’t get me anything. How can I make it so she enjoys the holiday? —SECRET SANTA
DEAR SECRET SANTA: While I admire your intentions, buying her something after she specifically asked you not to may only make her feel worse about her financial situation. Instead, why not enjoy an activity together? If it’s safe to do so, maybe a couples’ massage? Or you could do something that is free, like baking cookies and watching a classic holiday movie together. Find what she loves and then turn it into something you can enjoy together. The quality time means more than any object ever could, and a heartfelt letter or card could be the perfect bow tying it all together. (I had to find a way to put a holiday pun in there somehow!)
DEAR NATALIE: I recently started dating this guy and everything seemed to be going great until we got on the touchy subject of homosexuality and gay marriage. I support marriage equality. What worried me was the way he explained his position...basically by using “f--” in every other sentence and degrading the gay community. It disgusted me. He said some pretty awful things. I started yelling and he started yelling…it didn’t end well. We are supposed to have dinner this weekend. But, how can I date someone that is homophobic? I really liked this one! Ugh! Any advice? —ONE LOVE
DEAR ONE LOVE: Walk away. The idea that he would be against marriage equality in 2020 only makes me wonder what other phobias and -isms he is hiding. Using homophobic slurs so openly also makes me think that this isn’t someone who could be reasoned with easily. People can say what they want, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences to actions. You are allowed to have boundaries. It just comes down to how much effort you want to put into having someone recognize that people unlike himself have a right to exist without being harassed or degraded. You can disagree about a lot of things—but when it comes to human rights, there’s no right or left—just right or wrong. Find someone who respects people and uplifts them. Not only will he make for a better partner, but you won’t be embarrassed to bring him around your friends and family, someday, either.
Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter
@NatalieBenci and on Instagram @NatalieBenci