DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "Hurting in New York" (Jan. 17), I ran to my computer. Unless she breaks off her relationship with "Pan," you'll be hearing from her again in about 10 years.
I married a Greek man whose family never accepted me. Being young and naive, I tried everything to fit in, converting from Catholicism to the Greek Orthodox faith, attending all family functions, including them in our lives. It was never enough.
My husband and I traveled to Crete with his family to visit his relatives there, and some extended family members refused to share the dinner table with me because I was not Greek. One of those family members was a priest!
Our daughter, "Athena," was born four years later. What broke the camel's back for me was a Christmas dinner when she was 6. My father-in-law gave cards with $100 to all the grandchildren of Greek heritage. Athena received nothing and cried for hours wanting to know why her grandfather didn't love her. My husband just tried to stay neutral.
Please tell "Hurting" that Pan's actions speak louder than words. If at 35 he is celebrating holidays without her and hiding her from his family, it won't stop. She will never be accepted into the family, nor will any children they have together. She'll be better off without him. -- IRISH AGAIN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR IRISH AGAIN: I hope "Hurting" will take your (and my) advice to heart. And thank you for sharing your experience, which I am sure was painful. However, the kind of cliquishness you have described can happen in any group that tends to be "clannish," as my readers pointed out. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: You were right on the money with your advice to "move on." I was married to a "Brit" for more than a decade, and experienced the same treatment from my former in-laws that she is facing. I thought things would improve after our wedding, then once we had been married "awhile," etc. Needless to say, it never improved. Literally until the day I left, I was treated like an outsider, and my husband never once took a stance to protect me or even acknowledge the problem.
I know many other couples of differing nationalities, and I know this is the exception, not the rule. But I sure hope she takes your good advice, because she'll have years of disappointment and heartbreak ahead if she doesn't. -- BEEN THERE IN TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: I met my Armenian-American husband when I was 22 and he was 32. I thought, "What a nice guy; why isn't he married?" I soon found out why. He had very strong ties to his parents and siblings. They did not take to me at all. I have been snubbed and insulted repeatedly.
I married him anyway, and it was been 25 long years. He is still tied to "Mommy," and it's sickening. My advice to "Hurting" is to run and keep on running. Don't marry someone because you pity him. I did, and my compassion has gotten me nothing but verbal abuse from my husband and stoniness from his family. -- STILL HERE, WISH I WASN'T
DEAR ABBY: I'm a Greek woman, and your advice about "Pan" was right on. Pan is hiding her because she's not good enough for his family and never will be because she's not Greek. Shallow? Perhaps, but it's normal behavior for a traditional Greek family.
My mother was three-fourths Greek and was treated horribly her entire married life by my father's family. The movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was not a romantic comedy; it was a documentary! Pan's family will always come first. -- KNOWS ONLY TOO WELL IN CALIFORNIA