ANNIE'S MAILBOX She needs advice about marrying a noncitizen
Dear Annie: I am only 20 years old, and my boyfriend of three years recently asked me to marry him. I love him dearly, but he isn't an American citizen, and I am not sure if he wants to marry me because he truly loves me or because he wants his green card so he can stay in the United States.
I think I am blinded by love and not seeing things clearly. I know I should move on, but no matter how hard I try, I just can't. He's leaving soon to go back to his country and has asked me to come with him. My co-workers tell me that traveling to his country will be the experience of a lifetime and I should go.
Please point me in the right direction. I don't want to hurt him, but I don't want to make a huge mistake, either. Sad Blue Eyes in Connecticut
Dear Sad: The fact that you are questioning his motives after three years indicates you are looking for a way out. You are young to be making a lifetime commitment, and it is unfair to travel with him under false pretenses. It would be wiser to use the time apart to re-evaluate the relationship. Marriage is serious business, and you ought to feel more certain. You both deserve that much.
Dear Annie: What is the proper relationship with an ex-son-in-law? Our daughter, "Jenny," and her ex-husband have joint custody of our grandchildren. Jenny was the one who wanted the divorce. Her ex is a good father, but the two of them have ongoing arguments.
Jenny insists that we limit ourselves to being civil at the doorway when the ex drops off the children. We feel it is OK to have our ex-son-in-law visit with us, and even join us for dinner occasionally in our home or at a restaurant with the grandchildren. Do you agree? What should we do if our ex-son-in-law calls simply to chat, or asks to have lunch with one of us without the grandchildren?
This has been going on for several years and is causing tremendous conflict. Sometimes Jenny holds the grandchildren hostage as a bargaining chip to get her way. What should we do? Extended Family in Massachusetts
Dear Family: Jenny should not be dictating who you can and cannot spend time with. However, being overly chummy with the ex makes your daughter uncomfortable, and it might help to be more sensitive. It is perfectly OK to talk to him on the phone or invite him inside for a visit when he drops off the children, but dinners together are more than Jenny can handle. Remain friendly, but explain to your ex-son-in-law that you must respect Jenny's feelings on the subject.
Dear Annie: I was wondering if you have information on the tradition of a woman receiving a hope chest from her grandmother.
My sister-in-law, "Clarice," is facing this situation now. Her grandmother wanted her to have the hope chest. Unfortunately, her uncle's wife wants the chest, too, and insists it belongs to her by tradition. Clarice is the only surviving granddaughter on that side of her family. Her uncle's wife was not part of the family when the grandmother died, and the two never knew each other.
So, Annie, who should get the hope chest? Minnesota
Dear Minnesota: A hope chest, for those unfamiliar with the custom, is a chest in which a young woman stores clothing, linens, dishes and other items she hopes to use when she marries. Generally, a hope chest is passed from mother to daughter or granddaughter. It might be passed to a daughter-in-law if there are no other female relatives or if the daughter-in-law is particularly close to her mother-in-law. We say Clarice gets Grandma's hope chest, but, of course, she didn't ask us.
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