DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for six years. Up until about 18 months ago, my mother-in-law and I got along well. Unfortunately, this relationship has become problematic. The reason for this is her deep commitment to her church, the indoctrination of our toddler with her religious beliefs, and finally (ironically) her deep physical attraction to her priest. She believes it is acceptable to confide in me on this last issue. Needless to say, I became very uncomfortable and started avoiding her.
It’s difficult because she and my father-in-law live downstairs in our house. Luckily my husband understands my position. We both spoke to his mother several times to no avail. I am at the end of my rope and would like your advice on how to deal with this uncomfortable situation. – Rough waters in Pennsylvania
LOVE RAW WATER: Since you cannot change your mother-in-law, the most direct way to deal with this is to tell her that her intimacy makes you uncomfortable and that you don’t want to hear another word about her physical attraction to the cleric. I assume your father-in-law knows all this? If not, she should let them know him.
Since your in-laws are family, I further assume you have no intention of asking them to move. Putting an end to your attempts to indoctrinate your toddler is as easy as hiring a babysitter.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband for 23 years. We are both originally from Europe. He hasn’t seen his brother for 25 years so we plan to vacation near where his brother currently lives with his girlfriend. Since they cannot afford the trip, my husband will pay for them and they will stay with us for two to three days.
My Dilemma: My husband expects us ALL to share a two bedroom hotel suite. Abby, I don’t know these people. I’m scared of sharing a suite with people I’ve never met and don’t speak a common language with.
I expressed my discomfort to my husband and asked if we could have two separate hotel rooms. He was very upset with my suggestion and said it would cost him more to set up two rooms. He now wants to cancel the trip because of my “selfishness”. am i being unreasonable – NERVES IN NEW YORK
DEAR NERVES: Since your husband feels he cannot afford to pay for completely separate accommodations, let him know that you will agree to his plan, subject to certain ground rules. First of all, he has to translate for you all the conversations he has with his brother and girlfriend that you participate in. (It’s time-consuming and hard work!) Second, you’re free to do excursions on your own if you want, so you don’t have to be trapped all the time listening to conversations that are Greek to you.
Try it and you will be pleasantly surprised that your brother-in-law and his girlfriend like you. If that turns out not to be the case, you won’t have to be there when your husband next visits, which may not be the case for another quarter of a century.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.