DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a son, daughter-in-law and grandson. We moved from another city to be closer to them and be part of their lives. The problem is, my husband dislikes our daughter-in-law’s parents. He refuses to spend holidays or attend other activities where both sets of parents will be.
I don’t think the other parents or my daughter-in-law are aware of his dislike. This leaves me feeling extremely sad and not knowing what to do. I feel this is his problem and not mine. I have no issues with the other parents. I feel I should be able to attend my grandson’s activities without him. There are times when we visit our son and his family alone, so that works out well.
Neither our son nor our daughter-in-law knows how he feels, and I can’t say anything for fear that it will cause hurt feelings, especially for my daughter-in-law, whom I love very much. Please advise. — MOM IN THE MIDDLE
DEAR MOM: Relationships can be complicated. Not all families meld easily. It’s regrettable, but it’s also a fact. While it would be nice if your husband would be willing to make an effort to control his distaste so he could be included in more get-togethers, he has made it clear that he isn’t. Continue visiting with your son, DIL and in-laws when the opportunity arises. Let your husband “have other plans, be busy,” etc. If your son or DIL asks why your husband is absent so often, tell them to ask him.
DEAR ABBY: I am a male reader who was in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship for a number of years. I believed, as I was told repeatedly, that there was no hope of freeing myself and that I was stuck in that situation for the rest of my life.
I am here today to say THIS IS NOT TRUE. It was just another manipulative lie from my abuser. I broke free, made a new life for myself and I am happy! I’m back in touch with old friends and family I hadn’t been allowed to contact. I now have a healthy, nurturing relationship.
Please, Abby, tell your readers if they are experiencing abuse and feel stuck, to believe in themselves. They can have their lives back. They should reach out and not feel embarrassed. They can make this happen. Please pass along my message. — FREE AT LAST
DEAR FREE: Congratulations on reclaiming your life. As your letter illustrates, partner abuse can happen regardless of gender. Although the focus is usually on women, abuse also happens to men, straight and gay. The abuse can be physical, emotional or both.
An organization I have mentioned in this column before is Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE). It’s a support resource for abused individuals, regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation. Readers, to learn more about SAFE, visit stopabuseforeveryone.org.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.