Dear Abby: I am engaged to the father of my son. We have been together for five years. He’s in a wheelchair and has been since he was a child. I love him very much and am ready to be his wife.
Every time I would tell my mother we planned to be married, she’d give me a thousand reasons marrying the man I love would be stupid. We are now at a point in our lives where we are financially stable and are finally ready. When I told Mom, she called me selfish and said she won’t be there. I am heartbroken.
Am I a horrible person for marrying the man I love despite the fact that my family can’t accept his disability? They keep asking if I understand the responsibility that comes with being with a person in a wheelchair. I know I can’t change other people’s minds, but do people really think it’s bad for a walking person to marry a person in a wheelchair?
— Engaged in Michigan
Dear Engaged: You’re not a “horrible person,” and yes, some people do harbor this prejudice. You appear to be a young woman with her head on straight, and I hope you won’t allow your mother’s refusal to attend your wedding to stand in the way of your happiness.
While there are some things people in wheelchairs can’t do, there are many things at which they excel. Many people with disabilities earn a comfortable living using the muscle between their ears in careers such as law, counseling, teaching, Internet technology and more, and some have become fine craftsmen because of their manual dexterity. Perhaps if your family were to concentrate less on what your fiance can’t do and more on the things he can, they’d be more accepting.
Dear Abby: I am a 25-year-old woman. My parents divorced when I was young. I kept in contact with my father until he dropped out of my life when I was around 11.
I came across Dad again on Facebook recently. He’s now in a domestic partnership with another man. It wasn’t a shock because Mom had told me some time ago she had suspected he was gay.
What upset me were several posts he made about wanting a happy family with his partner. I know the family he made with Mom may not have been his ideal, but my sister and I are his family. I feel like we were tossed aside for this idea of a new family, which seems cold and callous. I haven’t mentioned it to my sister because I think she’d find it upsetting.
I want to confront Dad, but also think it might be best to just leave it alone. Any advice?
— Uncounted in California
Dear Uncounted: I think you should contact your father, start a dialogue with him and ask why he dropped out of your life. His reason may be that he was made to feel that his presence in your life was unwelcome, or a fear that you would not be able to accept his sexual orientation.
It seems strange to me that he would leave his daughters behind for no reason. If you would like to re-establish a relationship, tell him so. He may need to hear it from you before he can move forward and reconnect with you and your sister.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.