DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing “Tony” for a few weeks. He is kind, caring and will make a great boyfriend, husband and father someday. My problem with him is he thinks I’m a “status digger.” (It’s similar to a gold digger, but he means I care only about someone’s standing in the community.) His rationale is based on my friendships.
I come from a privileged background. While some acquaintances in my circle are spoiled and superficial, my close friends and I are not. Because I grew up here, it was only natural I’d date guys from a similar background. While I was not opposed to dating outside my social circle, the opportunity never presented itself.
Abby, I have never measured a guy because of his position in society. The thought never occurred to me. I admit I would probably be more inclined to date someone from a similar background because that’s what I’m familiar with, but I don’t think this makes me a social climber, status digger or elitist.
How should I address this with Tony? I’m afraid our relationship will end if he can’t see me for who I really am. — JUST ME IN HOUSTON
DEAR JUST ME: Tony may come from a blue-collar background. Because he perceives you and your friends as having had so much given to you, he may feel inadequate, so he’s putting you on the defensive by accusing you of being solely interested in social status. Of course, that’s stereotyping, and it isn’t fair to you. Because someone comes from inherited status/wealth there is no guarantee that it won’t disappear. That’s the reason some women prefer self-made men to those from a privileged background.
You and Tony should have a frank talk. When you do, suggest that before he assumes any more preconceptions about you are true, he should get to know you — because if he doesn’t, he will miss out on someone who is not only very nice, but who thinks HE has a lot to offer.
DEAR ABBY: When I was in my 20s, I was involved in a long-term relationship with a married man. I became pregnant, we ended the relationship and I gave birth to an amazing, intelligent and well-adjusted son, “Kyle.” There has been no contact with my former lover, and we have no mutual acquaintances.
Now that Kyle is an adult, he has expressed an interest in contacting his father. He is curious, but doesn’t want to disrupt his father’s life. Kyle doesn’t feel he missed out by not meeting his father; he simply wonders what he is like. The man is easy to locate on social media because he has an unusual last name.
I don’t want to see my son hurt by rejection or lack of interest from this man. Should I make the initial contact? If so, what would be the best way to do it? — PROTECTIVE MOM IN TENNESSEE
DEAR PROTECTIVE MOM: Your impulse may be to protect your son, but Kyle should make the contact. When he does, he should tell the man that you are his mother, and that he would like to meet him for no other reason than to ask him some questions and get his medical history. The response Kyle gets will tell him a lot about the man who fathered him. But there is no guarantee that a man who never provided financial support for his son will be receptive, compassionate or polite, and your son should be prepared.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.