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Friday, March 21, 2014

Dear Jeannie: Futuristic Castaway Love Story

Dear Jeannie,
Mark has a problem. As a mature, kind person, he's been asked to help a foreign castaway adjust to his people's culture and language. The castaway is growing on him. She's sweet and smart and eager to please. But she, and the rest of Mark's society, are aware that her own people are coming for her. It may be next week, it might be ten years, but they will find her. The more of a claim Mark has on her, the greater the risk of disaster. His own people are concerned about Mark. Conception is difficult among their people, and he is wasting the best years of his life tutoring this little foreign girl when he could be married and starting a family. Problem is, he doesn't want anyone else. What factors are going to weigh heaviest in making a decision about this? Can he justify picking her over his own people? They like her fine, but she's not kin and she brings trouble. Should he choose her, what might influence them to agree?

Torn in Toronto 

Dear Torn,

The answer to your question depends on a few things. How entrenched is Mark in his own culture? He doesn't seem to be a rule breaker by nature, or he wouldn't have been chosen to help the castaway. But the smart, introspective types have strong moral values and opinions, and are very prone to follow their heart purposefully. However, the more influence he has in his world, the more likely the others might be able to accept her, which would make his choice easier. Especially if he were to impart some knowledge to her that would end up benefiting the townspeople in some way, say, during a battle. You mentioned that he was mature, and that others thought he was wasting his prime years on the castaway. But does Mark a long history of girlfriends? Something tells me he doesn't. And that the reason he doesn't is that he is picky, perhaps. That would factor into his decision to choose the girl over his culture, because he might reason that no one in his culture has made his heart pound. Anyway, hope this helps. Thanks for writing in!

Dear Jeannie,

Owen's military father developed PTSD and an alcohol addiction which led to him abusing his wife and slapping around Owen and his two younger siblings during his worst episodes. After 10 years, his mother, a kind, loving woman, got a divorce and left with the younger two children. Owen loves the military and is ferociously loyal to his father, he's furious at his mother for (what he sees as) abandoning his mentally ill father and stealing the children. His mother wants to reconnect with Owen, but Owen absolutely despises her. He's a kind and generous individual, and I would like him to repair his relationship with his mother, but I cannot figure out how. He has brutally rebuffed all of her attempts to communicate, and he absolutely won't listen to his siblings discuss it. His father is likewise bitter at her for 'turning the other children against him,' and he encourages Owen's rebuffs. Any ideas?
Mystified in Mississippi 

Dear Mystified,

Owen might need to see another family with a similar dynamic, one in which he'd be more aligned with the mother and the abused children, to be able to see the dynamic in his own family. When people are entrenched in a certain viewpoint (and Owen definitely is that), they can't see beyond that. To expect him to without some sort of outer intervention (i.e., a letter from his mom written before the divorce, or something similar you've seen in movies and read in books) or exposure to the harmful effects in another family would be like expecting an insane person to suddenly become sane. If he could grow close to a woman, perhaps older (not romantically, though he could be interested in the eldest daughter...that sort of thing) and could begin to see evidence of her husband's abuse and how it is negatively effecting his love interest and the maternal security he feels from this woman, he might be able to see his father for what he was, rather than idolizing him and putting him on pedestal. I'm happy to entertain any other questions below in the comment section about what I've suggested. Good luck!


I might have some answers. Leave your question below, anonymously, using monikers like Sleepless in Seattle. I'll post my response in future Dear Jeannie columns.