Q. I’ve been seeing a girl for nearly a year but only recently met her family and sensed they didn’t approve of me – is this a deal-breaker?

Ruby says: It’s certainly not a deal-breaker. I don’t think I’ve ever had a relationship where the family of the guy or girl I was seeing approved.

I was once dated an heir to a publishing fortune – I moved into his plush apartment and started hanging out at the country club, of which his family were members. His family started hassling him and claimed I was only interested in him for his money. They were right, of course, but it still put an unfair strain on our relationship.

I had to persuade him that I loved him more than his family and that they were simply jealous of our happiness. That’s what you should be trying to do.

Make sure you don’t get caught bonking her tennis instructor, though; if that happens, your maneuvering will count for nought.


Dear Reuben

Reuben says:
Winning the approval of your partner’s family can be stressful, particularly in a new relationship.

In the process of writing my dissertation on the social structure of Peruvian tribes, I lived with one in their treehouse villages for a couple of years and, inevitably, I fell in love with the chief’s daughter; we were just crazy kids, running through the endangered rainforest, her skin soft and caramel against the lush jungle greens, a rare Amazonian flower tucked behind her ear.

The chief didn’t approve of our relationship, though – his daughter was promised to another tribe to sanctify a territorial agreement – so I had to prove my love for his daughter by poisoning this rival tribe’s water supply.

If you love this girl, you’ll do whatever it takes to steal her away from her primitive, bronze-age family.

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