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home : columns : dear harriette October 20, 2020

7/16/2020 8:06:00 AM
Stepfather insensitive about protests

DEAR HARRIETTE: My stepfather, who has been with my mother for the last three years, has been making insensitive comments about the Black Lives Matter protests. For example, saying that the protests are all about looting and violence, and dismissing the concerns of African Americans in this country. How do I approach the topic so that I can try to educate him and change his perspectives while being respectful since I am trying to build a friendly relationship with him and don't want to cause any family tension? -- Black Lives Matter

DEAR BLACK LIVES MATTER: Now that the looting and violence have died down but the marching continues, you can point out that the true protesters remain -- people who are fighting for equity. You can give him articles and books to read, point him to reports about racial disparities in our country and encourage him to open his eyes to the fullness of what is happening in the nation today. There are many reading lists that you can access. Here's one with a broad range of ideas:

Beyond making suggestions to your stepfather, you might want to back down a bit. Arguing about the rising tide of awareness of racial inequity will not likely change his mind. Instead, insert comments when you feel he is able to hear them. Watch movies -- in his company -- that shine a light on race relations. Subtly bring up the subject, but do your best not to argue.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex reached out to me a month ago. He sounded drunk, but he was also clear in what he was saying. He told me that he thought he had made a huge mistake breaking up with me a couple of years ago, and he knows I am the woman for him. He went on and on. I let him talk because he seemed pretty riled up. I didn't say much.

I called him the next day to talk when I thought he might be sober. What did I get? Crickets. It has been four weeks now, and I still haven't heard from him. I know that he was probably drunk when he did all of that talking about how much he loves me, but come on! Should I chalk it up to a random drunken moment, or should I pursue him and get him to talk to me? I have never stopped loving him. If there's a chance for us, I don't want to let it go. -- Does He Love Me?

DEAR DOES HE LOVE ME?: Listen to yourself, and look at the situation soberly. It's interesting -- while your ex may have been inebriated, you also sound like you are not of sober mind. The way you can evaluate what to do next is based on what is happening now. Sure, your ex may have stammered through telling you he still loves you when he was intoxicated, but if he is running away now, he clearly is not ready to step up and own his feelings.

Don't chase after him. That's not the type of relationship you want or deserve. If he cannot be honest with his feelings and desires for the future, you have no chance at happiness with him anyway. Sounds like it's time for you and your heart to move on.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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