New hus­band and son shunned by in-laws

Cape Breton Post - - LIFESTYLES -

ear An­nie: My wife and I are both 54-year-old pro­fes­sion­als. We grew up in the same small town, but didn’t be­gin a ro­mance un­til our 30th high-school re­union. We were in a long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship for four years and then mar­ried two years ago. Her chil­dren are grown. My 14year-old son lives with us.

The prob­lem is her par­ents. For some rea­son, they have de­cided they do not like me. I am not wel­come in their home, nor will they come to our house. My wife is in­vited to ev­ery one of their fam­ily events, but my son and I are not. Her three sib­lings treat me the same way, as does her 28-year-old daugh­ter. We all live in the same town, but I have no con­tact with any of them.

I have never treated any of my in-laws with any­thing other than the ut­most cour­tesy and re­spect. I have tried en­gag­ing her par­ents and sis­ter in di­a­logue, but no one will say a peep. I am con­vinced her par­ents are pur­posely stress­ing my wife in the hope that our mar­riage will fail.

I could deal with all of this if I felt my wife stood up for, sup­ported and prop­erly pri­or­i­tized our fam­ily. I feel she should not at­tend func­tions if we all are not in­vited. I am hurt and hu­mil­i­ated when she goes without us — ef­fec­tively say­ing it’s OK for her fam­ily to treat us poorly.

I can­not fathom treat­ing my chil­dren as her par­ents have treated us. I think their be­hav­iour is con­trol­ling, selfish and bor­der­line abu­sive. Is it too much to ex­pect my wife to stand up for her fam­ily? — Ig­nored Hus­band

DDear Ig­nored: Of course not. Your wife’s fam­ily con­tin­ues to treat you with dis­re­spect be­cause your wife per­mits it. She should have the de­cency to tell them you are a pack­age deal and in­sist on your in­clu­sion. They will never will­ingly ad­just to your mar­riage if your wife doesn’t de­mand they make the ef­fort.

Dear An­nie: I have a sim­ple ques­tion. Our fam­ily re­ceived an un­usual gift last Christ­mas from an aunt and un­cle. In­cluded in the card was a gift re­ceipt, along with a re­bate of­fer for the item and the reg­u­lar re­ceipt, which is needed to cash in the re­bate.

My ques­tion is, who should ben­e­fit from the re­bate? Should it be shared with my aunt and un­cle? Re­turned? Kept? — Be­yond my Rea­son­ing in the Mid­west

Dear Mid­west: If the orig­i­nal re­ceipt and re­bate of­fer were in­cluded in the card from the givers, it means they in­tended for you to send in the pa­per­work and keep the pro­ceeds. (If they had wanted the re­bate, they would have sent in the re­ceipt them­selves.) Con­sider it part of the gift. Be sure to thank them.

Dear An­nie: I read the let­ter from “Loving Dad,” whose 20-yearold daugh­ter doesn’t know how to dress to com­ple­ment her body shape. I, too, had this prob­lem, and my fa­ther stepped in. At first I found it of­fen­sive and re­fused to lis­ten, but I soon re­al­ized he was right.

Too of­ten, I have seen over­weight women wear un­flat­ter­ing things, and every­one is too po­lite to speak up. I am glad my fa­ther was will­ing, be­cause it al­lowed me to see just how unattrac­tive I looked.

My par­ents were quick with praise, but they were also quick to tell the truth. If some­thing didn’t look good, they said so. It took a while for me to ap­pre­ci­ate this, but now, at 28, I dress well and look good.

It is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant for a young woman — es­pe­cially one with weight is­sues — to learn what flat­ters her. Our so­ci­ety judges on ap­pear­ance, and this could af­fect her in many ways. I sug­gest Dad speak to his wife about how to gen­tly broach the sub­ject. — Eter­nally Grate­ful

Dear Grate­ful: Very few peo­ple so will­ingly ac­cept constructive crit­i­cism. Your par­ents han­dled it well, but you han­dled it bet­ter. Ku­dos.

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