DEAR ABBY: I am in my late 20s and dating a man in his mid-30s whom I am crazy about. We have been dating for a year and are starting to discuss marriage and children. He's kind, hard-working, gives back to the community, and does everything he can to make me happy.
My problem is his family. His mother curses and yells at him every few months, usually around the holidays when he tells her he's splitting his time between his family and mine. She breaks him down any way she can, such as finding fault with me or bringing up mistakes he made 10 or 15 years ago.
His sister tells him often that she doesn't like me because of things she claims I said or did. She has also attacked me on social media. The rest of the family gets involved in the drama and even blackmailed him (insinuating they would get him fired) when he tried to ignore them. A week or so after these outbursts occur, his family pretends nothing happened.
He admits his family has "issues," but he still wants a relationship with them. I try to limit my time with them, but I'm worried about our future. He would make an amazing husband, but I am unsure how - or if - I can get past his toxic family. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
- Happily ever after?
DEAR HAPPILY: I can see why you would question a future with a man from a family that guilts, manipulates and lies to the degree that his does. Whether you can overcome the baggage he will carry after you leave the altar is debatable. It might help if the two of you discuss this not only with each other, but also with a clergyperson who can give you unbiased premarital counseling. If you do get married, consider moving farther away from his family to secure your independence. He may also have to find another job if he's under their thumb financially.