dear Amy: My in-laws told me in a rather mean way that they didn’t love me.
It’s been a year since this happened and I see my husband is sad, misses his family and is so disappointed.
Truth be told, his parents never liked me, and I could tell, and so part of me was relieved by this revelation because it meant I could stop all the phone calls to chat and the sending of gifts and birthday cards. (I had accepted these interactions because their son did not).
Now I notice my husband is blue. I think he wants an apology message from his parents. His mother sometimes sends him very passive-aggressive messages like, “I know you probably don’t care but…” or “I think these messages aren’t reaching my grandchildren because your wife deletes them.” » (I am not deleting absolutely anything or preventing any contact between them.)
I don’t know how to help.
I don’t want him to hold a grudge against me.
I also want my children to have grandparents.
I don’t know what to say to my husband. He is seeing a therapist and is very angry at his parents for causing a breakup, especially since they live 10 hours from us and we see them once or twice a year (and usually stay at his brother’s house or in a hotel).
What should I tell him anyway? Should I tell him something? Or is it better if I do nothing and say nothing?
– DIL banned
Dear banished: You reveal what seems to be an impressive understanding and insight into this unfortunate dynamic, you describe it very well – and yet you can’t decide if you should talk to your husband about it?
He suffers. He suffers.
You may not have all the answers or a surefire solution to an entrenched family dynamic, but you could help ease your husband’s pain by encouraging him to open up to you.
You express a sense of relief at having been liberated by these mean people who never loved you. You also have a mature view of your husband’s need – or possible desire – to have his loved ones in his life in some capacity.
Start with: “Honey, I don’t want you to hold grudges on my behalf. If you want to see your parents, you should see them – and if you want to take the kids to visit, I invite you to do so! How can I help you through this?
You might suggest that she attend a joint session with her therapist to find comfortable ways to communicate about this.
Dear Amy: My fiancé “Charles” and I have a wonderful relationship. We have been together for eight months and plan to get married in the spring.
He has a son, “Brian”, aged 13. Charles and his wife have been divorced for six years and Brian is with his father every other weekend. He has his own room and his own routines when he is at his father’s house.
The problem is, I don’t like this kid. He is both brooding and entitled, although he and his father seem to get along well. I tend to avoid them on weekends.
While waiting for the wedding, I wonder how to manage the weekends when his son is there?
Dear, I wonder: I wonder if you’ve met many 13 year olds. I would say “brooding and dignified” is within the norm for many children this age.
This boy will be in his father’s life for the rest of his life, not just every other weekend.
You absolutely should not get married until you have developed an understanding and at least a friendly relationship with this guy.
You don’t seem to have put much effort in here. Being a stepparent is an extremely difficult role to take on; if you cannot accept this boy as a member of your family, then you are not ready to take on this responsibility. You don’t have to always like this guy, but you should still be willing to like him.
dear Amy: I was stunned by “Unappreciated Tipper”, who wanted to be thanked for his generous tip. The tip should be left quietly on the table and you should be long gone before it is discovered.
I would be embarrassed if someone made a big deal out of my good manners. I am supposed have good manners.
– Mike in NH
Dear Mike: Bingo!
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.
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