Dear Abby: My husband’s mom ordered him to keep a secret from me

The married people consider themselves a team and were offended by the demand.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been happily married for 23 years and have two children. Is it OK for my mother-in-law to tell my husband something and demand that he not tell me? The “secret” is: His sister, who has two children, is getting divorced.

We don’t see either of them often, and there has never been a time when we were on bad terms or gossiped about his family. His mom is just very secretive. I have nobody to share that news with and, honestly, I don’t judge the situation. My husband told me the news immediately, and was upset his mom asked him not to tell me. We don’t think it was right. We are a team. Do you agree? — HATES SECRETS

DEAR HATES SECRETS: Do not blame your “secretive” mother-in-law for this. The minute she said to your “teammate” that she had something to tell him but he shouldn’t share it with you, his response should have been, “Then keep it to yourself, Mom, because my wife and I don’t keep secrets from each other; we’re a team.” Please share this with your husband so he can keep it in his repertoire for the next time it happens, because I’m positive there will be a next time.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 60-year-old male who is educated, successful, healthy and in good physical condition. I have been divorced a long time, and although I have a normal dating life, I haven’t been in a relationship for a couple of years.

I have been blessed with wonderful friends. The issue is, they are all married, and I find I am no longer invited to events, outings and get-togethers like I was when I had a partner. I know my friends enjoy my company, but when they make plans, they think only about inviting other couples.

It hurts when I hear my friend say he and his wife went to the ballgame with So-and-So and his wife, to a flea market — or anywhere. It’s making my life lonely. I have dropped hints, to no avail. Do I need to find another partner to be invited out with my friends? — EXCLUDED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR EXCLUDED: Do not sit around silently nursing hurt feelings. Ask your friends’ wives, because wives are most often the ones who plan the social calendar. Unattached males are usually welcome because they’re a hot commodity who can be fixed up with unattached women for an outing in the hope they will “couple up.” Consider inviting these couples to an activity instead of waiting to be invited, and your luck may change.

DEAR ABBY: What do you do to stop a neighbor from borrowing tools, cooking ingredients, sewing needles and thread, eggs, etc., but never replaces them? I feel it is time to say, “No, I don’t have the item you are asking for.” — FED UP IN THE SOUTH

DEAR FED UP: I agree with you that it is time to say something. But when you give this neighbor your refusal, be honest and tell the person exactly why.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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