Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Parents May Have Many Reasons to Object to Romance

DEAR HARRIETTE: I enjoy reading your column, and I find your advice straightforward and refreshing. However, I think you may have missed the boat about the man in an interracial relationship whose family doesn't support the relationship. The only detail he provided was that his girlfriend is black and has kids. Perhaps his family objects because there is a major age difference between them, or maybe she's been married multiple times and they worry about him committing to someone who doesn't have a good track record regarding relationships. Maybe they are worried about him becoming an instant dad to the children.

I completely agree that if the family doesn't approve of the relationship because the woman is of a different races it is an outdated shame. But I suspect there may be more to the story. Just wanted to put that out there. -- Another View, Jackson, Miss.

DEAR ANOTHER VIEW: Thank you for your insight. It is possible that race is only one factor in the parents' lack of support for this coupling. What I hope, in any situation like this, is that the parents would speak up and say what their concerns are so that the adult child can hear what they are thinking and be able to respond as an adult.

What happens all too often is that parents pass judgment, for whatever reason, and put up an emotional fence. When this occurs, the couple may retaliate and get married without even considering the parents' point of view. In the end, this can lead to fractured relationships all around, including the fledgling marriage.

I am a big believer in communicating respectfully and fully. When that happens, everyone stands a better chance of making informed decisions about the future.

DEAR HARRIETTE: "Chasing a Dream" wrote to you because she wants to go to nursing school at age 61. I'm glad you told her to go for it. I worked in a factory for more than 25 years. I went back to school and got my nursing degree when I was 48! That was 10 years ago. I have been an oncology nurse for all of those years, and I love it! It is NEVER too late. -- Chased My Dream, Too, Chicago

DEAR CHASED MY DREAM, TOO: I so appreciate the many comments that have come in about getting educated at a later age and going for your heart's desire.

Just the other day I moderated a panel, and a woman in the audience spoke about being afraid of being stuck in her mid-level job not knowing how to move up. Of course, ageism does exist, so I did not paint for her a picture of easy street. I did point out that how we think affects what we become. What we say directs our steps. Being able to think, say and act based on the greatest potential you can imagine for yourself opens the door to possibility in your life -- at absolutely any age.