"Dear Troubleshooter" is a relationship advice column that appears in The Japan News, a publication that is part of the Asia News Network.
I'm a female company employee in my 20s. My fiance, whom I'll marry next year, doesn't like the prefecture where I live.
He thinks it is the most rural among all the prefectures in Japan. He says it's not that he dislikes my family or friends, he just doesn't like the area.
He's from a big city and lived in my prefecture for five years because of his job, but now lives in another prefecture. As the prefecture he currently lives in is easily accessible to urban areas, he is happy about living there. He even says he wants to avoid visiting my hometown as much as possible.
We start to argue whenever we talk about this. I feel as if he looks down on the place where I was born and raised, and the people living there. I'm so sad that it has even driven me to tears.
When I tell him how I feel about it, he does apologise immediately, but I get the impression his apologies aren't heartfelt. When I've asked him to stop telling me about his disdain for my hometown, he says he can't help it.
I sincerely love him but I can't forgive him for this. Before marrying him, how should I approach this?
Dear Ms. U,
Honestly, I don't understand why you can't forgive him for not liking your hometown.
It may be true that you don't like hearing about his feelings. But he has stressed that it's not the people from your hometown he dislikes, but the area itself. That feeling is similar to someone's dislike of a particular professional baseball team or a preference for cities over the countryside.
I think he is just saying it casually and does not mean to look down on the place where you were raised. He says he likes your family and friends even though he doesn't like the area you're from. Isn't that good enough for you?
Or is there some inconvenience for you if he doesn't like it? You said you start to argue whenever you talk about this matter. What do you argue about specifically? I don't think there can be any merit in arguing about whether he likes it or not.
Our likes and dislikes aren't controlled by reason. So it will be difficult to change his negative feelings about your hometown. How about approaching this matter with a broad mind and accepting his feelings?
Sachiyo Dohi, lawyer