DEAR JOHN: Like many Indian families, my husband and I live with his parents. Whenever I get into an altercation with my in-laws, no matter what happens, my husband never takes my side. Even if I'm right, and he acknowledges that I am right, he will only show displeasure with me in front of his parents. I've tried talking to my husband a number of times. I will accommodate his parents every way that I can, but I need him to at least be emotionally supportive of me. He, however, continues to give me no support. I have an independent career and I earn as much as my husband. Why should I tolerate this behavior?
End of My Rope in Vancouver, British Columbia
DEAR END: I commend you for your attempts to honor old world customs in this new millennium. You are right to seek the emotional support you need. Unfortunately, in his current mindset, I don't think you'll find that in your husband. He has been taught to honor his parents above all else.
As I suspect you know, in many societies, other women who live with their in-laws also experience your dilemma. Before you walk away from your marriage, please consider finding the support you need from other sources. For example, your personal friends and business colleagues recognize your strengths and assets, and they may provide the acknowledgment you deserve.
By establishing your domain outside the home you share with your in-laws, their pettiness will seem less substantial to you, and coping with it won't seem so hard. I'm sure you know that in the not-too-distant future, you will need a home of your own. The time to start discussing that future with your life partner is now.
DEAR JOHN: What is your advice for a gay couple when one partner wants to be more open about the relationship, but the other partner insists on remaining in the closet?
Ready to Be Out in Phoenix, Ariz.
DEAR READY: In any relationship, both partners should get the acknowledgment and validation they seek for the love they give. You have two choices. First, you can make your needs known. If your partner refuses to give you what you need, you should separate and seek to meet this need elsewhere. Second, you can stay in the relationship under terms that are less than desirable. The first choice, while difficult now, may eliminate years of heartache and bitterness. It may also help your partner realize how much this relationship means to both of you. Make the choice that is right for you.
John Gray is the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus." Write him by email at www.marsvenus.com. All questions are kept anonymous and will be paraphrased.