Dear Abby: I have meddling in-laws. Anytime my husband of 20 years and I have a disagreement, he calls his parents to complain about me. On six different occasions, I found messages and Facebook chats between my husband and my in-laws in which they called me a bad mother, a terrible person, crazy, evil, the devil and disparaged my family.
Because of this, I have cut off contact with his relatives, and they cannot come to our house. My husband insists on being around them, and we argue because I want our 9-year-old son to have only limited contact with them. I don't want them tearing me down in front of him. I also expect my spouse to spend time with me and our son at holidays, but my husband says I'm being unreasonable and I should just "move on and let it go." His parents refuse to apologize. They say they have done nothing wrong. I need some objective advice.
-- Miserable in Missouri
Dear Miserable: The person who has done something wrong is your husband. He should not have gone running to Mommy and Daddy when you had a disagreement. What they did was accept his side of the story and support their wounded child.
I don't blame you for not wanting your son subjected to any smack talk from his grandparents. Wanting to shield him from that doesn't make you crazy, evil, etc. Bury the hatchet with them if it's possible, and drag your husband to a licensed marriage and family therapist so he -- and you -- can learn to disagree like adults.
Dear Abby: My mother keeps buying me (and my now-teenage daughters) clothes from a catalog for elderly women. Think lots of bird prints, florals and elastic-waist pants.
She's an amazing mother and grandmother and an inspiration in my life. I appreciate her generosity and that she thinks of us. However, none of us wear the clothes, and I don't want to hurt her feelings by telling her we are "pretty particular" when it comes to style. We are very frugal and even shop second-hand stores for some clothing.
Should I speak up, or quietly continue donating the clothes? The last thing I want is to hurt her.
-- Wincing in Lansing, Michigan
Dear Wincing: Do NOT tell your mother you and your daughters have been donating the clothes she orders for you. DO tell her that teenage girls these days dress much differently than women her age and yours, and that it would be "prudent" to ask them what they might like or gift them money to buy something of their own choosing. It's the truth, and she should hear it.
As to what she is ordering for you, thank her for her generosity and point out that since the pandemic began most women have been wearing jeans, sweats, leggings, etc. and that while you are grateful for her, you think she should be aware of it. Fashions change, and there is nothing so constant as change.
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.