DEAR ABBY: My brother “Brian” and his wife, “Laurel,” have an adult son, “Dick,” who dated a girl I’ll call “Crystal” for 10 years before they got married. Everyone got along fine, until Crystal gave birth.
After their first child was born, Crystal started withholding visits from my brother and his wife. Crystal and Dick had two more children. The oldest is now 6. The only way Brian and Laurel see their grandchildren is if there’s a family reunion, wedding, etc. Crystal allows her parents to see the kids and spend time with them whenever.
Brian and Laurel are flabbergasted by what has happened. They have no idea why all of a sudden after giving birth, their DIL has not allowed them to visit the grandkids, babysit or anything. My brother and his wife are great people. They don’t drink to excess or use drugs and would be wonderful grandparents for these children.
Would it be appropriate as a family member (aunt) to write a letter to Crystal and, in a kind, nonaccusatory way, explain the hurt this has caused and how much their children are missing out from not being around these two great individuals? — MISSING OUT IN OREGON
DEAR MISSING OUT: While it isn’t unheard of for the wife’s parents to take precedence over the husband’s, Crystal’s behavior does appear to be extreme. It also appears the way she’s acting is retaliatory, but the people who must get to the bottom of it are your brother and his wife. I don’t think there is anything to be gained by involving yourself in this sad mess, because if you do, Crystal and her husband will resent it. Sympathize, but stay out of it.
DEAR ABBY: Five years ago, my daughter, “Angie,” and her two children moved in with me after she and her husband separated. I hoped she would get her finances and life together and be able to get a place of her own.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that Angie had started a relationship and had fallen in love with a man she met online. Her daughter was very upset about it. Angie was in a custody dispute over her youngest child, and we disagreed more than once about issues concerning the children.
After a couple of years, she moved into her own place. She’s still involved with this individual. I haven’t met him and have no desire to. She’s upset with me because of it. I don’t want to see him with her because he has been married several times and is involved with drugs. I realize who Angie is involved with is her business and not mine, but I want nothing to do with him. How can I avoid a rift with her over this? — SOURED IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR SOURED: No law says you HAVE to meet this person, and it is your privilege to avoid him if you wish. I’m not sure what your daughter expects from you. Does she want you to entertain him? Common sense would dictate that you do not want anyone who is involved with illegal substances in your home. However, I do think you should agree to meet him once.
If Angie’s relationship with you is predicated on the idea that you will welcome this individual into your life with open arms because she has, you will then have to figure out how to navigate this. That she would allow someone like him to interact with her children shows very poor judgment.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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