Dear Abby: Asked to keep a secret, I did and angered my wife

She’s furious that husband didn’t tell her their son’s fiancee has a child on the way, which would have broken a confidence.

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DEAR ABBY: My son recently confided that his fiancee is pregnant with our first grandchild. He asked me not to share this information with my wife, his mother. He knew she would be upset because he was in the process of breaking up with his fiancee. I told him I would keep his confidence for a short while, but that he should please tell Mom soon.

Two weeks went by before my son finally told his mom about the pregnancy. She was shocked. On the way home, she asked if I had known about it. Well, my life flashed before my eyes. I couldn’t lie, so I admitted I knew. She became furious with me and said I should have prepared her for this news and had thrown her under the bus. A big argument followed. Was I wrong to keep my son’s confidence? — IN RETROSPECT IN GEORGIA

DEAR IN RETROSPECT: No, you were not wrong. Because you were asked to keep this in confidence, it was not “your” news to share. Your adult son asked you to keep this to yourself, and it would have been wrong to betray it before he was ready to tell his mother himself. Even if he breaks up with his partner, that baby will be a part of all of your lives for the foreseeable future. Move forward and put this spat to rest.

DEAR ABBY: After 17 years, my hubby and I separated. He met someone else and fell head over heels for her. Now he’s back, but life with him is so different. He shows me no affection, no caring, never a passionate kiss. Our relationship is not the way it used to be.

There is no talking with him, and he calls me all sorts of names — something he never did before. He tells me he loves me, but he doesn’t demonstrate it. When he comes to bed he sleeps at the edge of the bed with no cuddling or sex. What is a woman to do? I truly love him. — CRYING IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR CRYING: It appears your husband may not have returned to you willingly. Tell him you can no longer live the way you have been and offer him the “option” of marriage counseling to see if your very sick relationship can be put back on track. If the answer is no, as much as you love him, rather than continue tolerating the emotional abuse you are experiencing, get the heck out of that “marriage.”

DEAR ABBY: My husband’s father is an alcoholic who lives with my husband and me and our two teens. I buy and prepare his food, put gas in his car and buy his alcohol. I even take his dog out. (If I don’t, he lets the dog pee in my house and destroy the wood floors.) When he drinks, he gets angry and threatens my husband and me. He let his dog defecate in my driveway one day and then proceeded to come after us. When I finally had enough of his badgering, I picked it up and put it on the hood of his car. Was I wrong? — LIVING WITH THE DEVIL

DEAR LIVING: I think so, but what does your husband think about all of this? Is he so used to Dear Old Dad’s antics that he accepts them as normal? A way to put an end to your father-in-law’s abuse would be to stop buying the gas and his booze. Of course, he won’t like that, but if he becomes threatening when he’s loaded, it’s the only way short of evicting him to protect yourself and your teenagers from his outbursts.

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.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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