Should they in­ves­ti­gate?

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions to askamy@tri­bune.com.

Dear Amy: My hus­band and I are aware that our daugh­ter-in-law has been cheat­ing on our son for over a year.

The per­son she is cheat­ing with is also a “friend” of our son. We are afraid to say any­thing be­cause we have no hard­core proof, such as pho­to­graphs or tapes.

Our son is very trust­ing, and there is no way he will be­lieve us with­out such proof.

If we tell him, the end re­sult will be that we won’t be per­mit­ted to see our grand­chil­dren, and per­haps our son as well.

We are dev­as­tated. The level of lies and de­ceit is as­tound­ing.

Can you give us ad­vice to help us deal with this?

Dis­traught Mom

Dear Dis­traught: In­ves­ti­gat­ing your daugh­ter-in-law in search of hard­core proof of her in­fi­delity is an of­fen­sive con­cept. If you see some­thing with your own eyes, then you should tell your son what you saw (“On Tues­day we saw Carol and Steve walk­ing into the Notell Mo­tel to­gether, hand in hand”), but not draw con­clu­sions for him. If some­one else has di­rect knowl­edge, then that per­son (not you) should re­spond.

You know your son in­ti­mately. Would he want to know about your sus­pi­cions? From what you say, the an­swer prob­a­bly is no.

It is most eth­i­cal to act in a way that causes the least harm. If you know with­out a shadow of a doubt that the chil­dren are some­how at risk, then you must act. How­ever, if you sim­ply want to prove what a dis­hon­est, wretched woman your son is mar­ried to — or if your son’s be­ing a chump em­bar­rasses you (or him) — then no, you should not act.

It is wis­est to stay out of other peo­ple’s mar­riages. This is not ig­nor­ing un­eth­i­cal be­hav­ior — it is mak­ing a de­ter­mi­na­tion that you don’t know ev­ery­thing that goes on be­tween two peo­ple and that you won’t in­ter­fere un­less there is very clear dan­ger.

Dear Amy: My hus­band and I have been mar­ried for 18 months.

Our for­mer spouses each died five years ago.

Dur­ing hol­i­days he still in­sists on go­ing to the home of his de­ceased wife’s fam­ily, be­cause that’s where his chil­dren will be.

I go to my fam­ily cel­e­bra­tions alone. I have cre­ated cel­e­bra­tion times at our house and have in­cluded his chil­dren, but he still goes to the home of their mother’s fam­ily dur­ing hol­i­days, in­stead of mine.

This hurts me deeply, and I re­cently told him how I feel about this, but he thinks I just don’t un­der­stand.

Be­reaved

Dear Be­reaved: You and your hus­band are un­der­tak­ing a ma­jor life tran­si­tion in the wake of loss. You should be pa­tient with each other and with his kids (who I as­sume are adults). Un­der­stand that it might be painful for his late wife’s fam­ily to in­vite you to things; your hus­band is go­ing to have to help pave the way.

Take things slowly. Don’t com­pete with their mother’s fam­ily for their time dur­ing hol­i­days. Ask your hus­band to help you get to know his late wife’s fam­ily and in­vite them to join you for a backyard bar­beque in your home with the kids. A good com­pro­mise is to un­der­stand that the two of you will oc­ca­sion­ally be with your re­spec­tive fam­i­lies, but over time you will build a home to­gether that is at the cen­ter of your cel­e­bra­tions.

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