DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law is the WORST! She has no respect for me. She has stolen, lied and gossiped about me numerous times. Each time, I chose to forgive and move on.
Recently, my husband made clear that he wants to cut ties with his mother and siblings because they constantly belittle his success and ask to borrow money. My problem is, I can’t agree to it. I despise his mother, but I was raised to believe families should never sever ties. I believe every family has its ups and downs.
My husband and I constantly argue because I continue to communicate with his mother and extend invitations to her. Abby, I just want to do the right thing, but I can’t seem to figure out what the right thing to do is. — S.O.S. IN GUAM
DEAR S.O.S.: Your husband’s family is a threat to your financial stability and emotional health. Unless you want continuing discord in your marriage, respect your husband’s wishes. Recognize that his family is extremely dysfunctional and do as he asks. If you don’t, the arguments will escalate until they damage your relationship with him.
DEAR ABBY: After being in a bad marriage for 40 years, I finally left my husband in 2011. After two years of separation and therapy, we reconciled. During the time I was gone, he leaned on his longtime friends for support and shared lots of personal information about me, some of which was untrue.
The other evening while we were having dinner and drinks, a mutual friend and I were talking about health, and I told him I was hiding a certain hip problem from my husband. He asked why, because my husband had told him about it years ago. (I can’t imagine why.)
The reason I left was my husband’s anger at me over a hospital emergency room bill. I told this friend that my husband’s concern for my health is not sincere because he had recently blown up at me for mentioning an upcoming doctor visit. I am on Medicare. Now I’m worried that I may have wrecked their friendship by revealing how uncaring a husband he really is. How did I get here? — QUESTIONING MYSELF
DEAR QUESTIONING: How did you get here? You got here by remarrying a man who has such a big issue with spending money on health. If you stay with him, it could be catastrophic.
DEAR ABBY: I was taught (at home and in school) to speak first when entering a room, a building, etc. However, my wife’s family doesn’t practice this. Recently, her sister, upon entering a room I was in, failed to speak first. After I said hello, she said, “I was wondering when you were going to say something.” Are there etiquette guidelines that speak to this situation? — ENTERING IN THE EAST
DEAR ENTERING: If there is a rule about who should speak first, I confess I have never heard of it. I know that it is proper for a woman to extend her hand (first) in a social situation if she wants to observe the formality, but that’s as far as it goes. When it comes to who says hello first, common sense should rule.
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