In-laws’ visits take toll on woman’s body and soul

Published 8:51 am Monday, May 8, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: My in-laws live out of state, and they would stay with us when they visited. Once my son was born, I told my husband they would need to stay in a hotel because we no longer have the room. They are also the most disrespectful houseguests, and I have terrible insomnia.
My MIL speaks to me only when my husband is around, and my FIL complains about everything – our streaming services, saying I need to buy more towels and complaining that we don’t have soda. I have tried explaining to my husband that they send my anxiety into the next dimension, but because none of this happens when he’s around, he doesn’t understand. I have had to ask my doctor to give me a small supply of medication for my nerves.
Since they have been staying at a hotel, they complain about the cost and the accommodations. I have offered to pay for a rental. Now she’s telling my husband she will buy a sleep sofa for when they visit. I have tried telling my husband all the reasons why this is not a good idea, but it always ends up in an argument.
Am I being unreasonable, and should I just suck it up a few weeks a year, or should they respect the fact that having them as houseguests does not work for our family? – DEFEATED IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR DEFEATED: Your in-laws appear to be quite a handful. Your solution about them staying in a hotel or rental when they visit is sensible since they are unpleasant to be around when their son is absent. If, however, your husband won’t back you up, consider spending as much time away from the house as you can during those visits. It will give Grandma and Grandpa more time to bond with the little one and save your sanity.
DEAR ABBY: My sister ghosted me after learning I was the beneficiary of my late brother’s IRA. She was demanding that I share the inheritance with our mother and possibly with her. I refused. I accepted the money to use for Mom because she may need it in her declining years.
So now I have lost a brother AND a sister. Do I just wait for her to begin communicating when she’s ready? At times, we need to talk about our 88-year-old mother. Am I guilty of all the things she accuses me of: being greedy, manipulative, a betrayer, a liar? I’m not sure how to mend our rift. – SANE SIS IN INDIANA

DEAR SIS: You did nothing wrong. Your sister has convinced herself that you (and your late brother) have somehow “cheated” her and your mother out of something that was rightfully hers. Aside from splitting the money your brother left you with her, there’s nothing you can do to mend that rift – and it’s unlikely any amount of money could fix it now.
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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