DEAR HARRIETTE: I come from a professional family. For several generations, everyone has been college educated and has had a great professional job. I took that route myself, and I am now working in finance, which I like.
I have met and fallen in love with a man who does not have a college degree. He and his family are simple people who live pretty modestly. They are salt-of-the-earth people, too. I love him, and I love them. My boyfriend does landscaping. He has his own truck and all of the tools he needs in order to be self-sufficient, and he does very well. In fact, he already makes way more money than I do in my junior banking job. I know it’s not enough for my family. They expect me to bring home somebody with a pedigree. I haven’t met anybody like that who makes me this happy.
Even though our backgrounds are different, my boyfriend and I like enough of the same things that I think it will be OK. How can I introduce him to my family so that they will accept him? -- Off Class
DEAR OFF CLASS: Being in a relationship with someone of a different class is one of the classic love story tropes, not unlike Cinderella and Prince Charming. Family beliefs and differences can be difficult to overcome, but you do not have to give in. If you love this man and believe that you can build a life together, drum up the courage to make that known to your family.
Start by talking to him and making sure that he understands what to expect when meeting your family. Get him ready so he isn’t too awkward when he meets them. Prep them by letting them know that you will be introducing them to the man you love. Ask them to give him a chance.
Time will tell whether you two can withstand the judgments of your family and carve out a place for you to thrive.