DEAR ABBY: I’m a mostly happily married wife and mother. I love tattoos. When I was younger, I was engaged to my soul mate. His name is tattooed on my wrists in honor of the love we shared. Unfortunately, he was killed in a car accident.
Several years later, I met and married my husband, “Brett.” When we fight he brings up the tattoos. He says they’re “disrespectful” of him and I should get rid of them. It upsets me because I got the tattoos before I ever met Brett, so how can they be disrespectful? Am I being unreasonable, or should my husband back off? — ILLUSTRATED WOMAN IN COLORADO
DEAR ILLUSTRATED WOMAN: The tattoos are in no way disrespectful to your husband. They are the same body art you had when he married you, and if he didn’t complain back then, he shouldn’t now.
When you’re fighting and Brett tells you to get rid of them, he’s doing it to hurt you because he knows they are meaningful and he’s trying to get under your skin. Insist on dealing with the subject at hand and don’t take the bait.
DEAR ABBY: I’d like to know if there’s any way to stop my mother-in-law from inviting herself to every birthday party and graduation our children have. They are pre-teen and teenagers now. She has done this for years, and it often doesn’t end well.
Because they are older, they prefer to hang out with their friends, do sleepovers, etc. Because she insists on staying the night, it’s hard to have room for sleepovers. She complains if she has to sleep on the couch, and she also has a fit if she’s not getting enough attention from the kids because they’d rather be with their friends and not her the whole time.
I have tried explaining that she should come the weekend before or after, but she shows up on the birthday anyway. Her complaints ruin their birthdays, to the point that I no longer look forward to them. Any advice, since another birthday is right around the corner? (Maybe she’ll read this and have a change of heart.) — MISERABLE MOM IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR MISERABLE MOM: Your mother-in-law sounds like a handful. However, I do believe that grandparents should be invited to milestones like graduations, where family is important.
It’s hard to imagine Grandma would simply show up at the kids’ party after being asked to stay away, but you can’t slam the door in her face. When she barges in, for your own sake tune her complaining out. Walk away if you must. As to altering the sleeping arrangements to suit an uninvited guest — don’t do it. Where is your husband in all of this? She’s his mother; if you can’t make her see reason, then he should.
It’s normal for teens to want to celebrate with their contemporaries — and Grandma had better get used to it before they turn tail and run whenever they see her coming.
DEAR VETERANS: I salute each and every one of you for your service to this country. My heartfelt thanks as well to the brave and dedicated men and women who are still on active duty. You are the personification of patriotism and self-sacrifice for your dedication to our country. — Love, ABBY
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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