Dear Abby: Husband’s mother prefers I not speak to her or her family

The muzzled spouse hopes to fix the relationship, now that the couple is considering children.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m a gay man. My husband and I have been together almost nine years, married less than one. Seven years ago, my mother-in-law decided I was no longer “allowed” to speak to her or her family. When my husband asked her why, she was unable to give him a clear answer but insists it has nothing to do with us being gay. Anytime my husband mentions my name or the life we have together, she changes the subject. I offered to write her a letter, but my husband doesn’t think it would be a good idea. He used to be close to his family, but with each passing year the relationship becomes more strained.

My mother-in-law followed a similar pattern when my brother-in-law married his wife. When they had their first child, my MIL’s behavior did a 180 and she welcomed them into the family. Now that we’re married, my husband and I have begun the process of adopting from the foster care system.

I assume my in-laws will want a relationship with their grandchildren, but I don’t know if I can let go of how they’ve treated us. The strain has been especially tough on my husband. At times, it almost broke us up. I would value a relationship with my in-laws, but as things stand, I wouldn’t want them around our future children. What can we do to improve this relationship before kids come into our lives? — ISSUES WITH THE IN-LAWS

DEAR ISSUES: There may be nothing you and your husband can do. When her children fell in love and married, your MIL may on some level have felt abandoned and felt the need to punish. That she came around when your sister-in-law’s baby entered the picture is admirable. It’s possible she relented because she recognized that if she didn’t, she’d be unable to have anything to do with her grandchild.

That said, do not assume she will mellow if you and her son successfully adopt. It seems the only predictable thing about the woman is her unpredictability.

DEAR ABBY: At a party recently, I met the 20-something daughter of a friend of mine. The daughter is friendly, intelligent and very nice. I told my available 20-something son about my friend’s daughter and offered to get her number from my friend, the mom. I said he could call the daughter if he was interested. I only suggested this to him. He was outraged and insisted it was weird for his mother to “fix him up.” He concluded: “Ask Dear Abby!” so I’m asking. WAS it weird for me to ask my friend about her daughter’s availability and pass along her phone number? He can call or not and, if he does, the two of them can determine if they want to meet. What say you? Thanks! — CALIFORNIA MOM

DEAR CALIFORNIA MOM: Weird? Heck, no. In some circles what you did is how matches are made. Thousands (maybe millions) of other mothers have done the same thing. Too bad your son reacted so negatively. Even if they weren’t romantically interested, they might have become friends. You can never have enough of those.

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.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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