Holidays become less fun with the in-laws around

Published 9:48 am Thursday, November 2, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

DEAR ABBY: My daughter’s in-laws have no place to go on holidays. They have two children, but haven’t spoken to one of them in several years, so my son-in-law is their only family close by. 

I enjoy entertaining and having family over, but I really don’t care for their company. It’s a different vibe when they’re here because her father-in-law, “Sam,” and my husband drink too much and talk politics (both activities I avoid). They know how I feel, but make comments behind my back, thinking I don’t hear them. 

My husband loves their company and goes out often with my son-in-law and Sam. My daughter understands how I feel. She doesn’t like to cook or entertain, but will host a holiday once in a while. However, it doesn’t solve the problem, because I end up doing a lot of the work and I miss not entertaining in my own home. Please advise. – CATCH-22 IN NEW YORK

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


DEAR CATCH-22: I’m not sure why you feel it’s your responsibility to entertain your daughter’s in-laws on every holiday. Discuss this with your husband (when he’s sober) and tell him you don’t like it when he and Sam get drunk, talk politics and make snide remarks behind your back. Inform him he should be more respectful, or the in-laws won’t be invited to your home for the holidays anymore.

Nowhere in your letter did you mention your daughter’s MOTHER-in-law. Do you have anything in common with her? If so, spend most of your time with her and your daughter or, once the meal has been served, ask them if they’d like to go out to a movie, get some exercise, etc. That way you won’t be forced to stick around when the “boys” overimbibe and indulge themselves in their favorite subject. 


DEAR ABBY: Recently, my current husband went on a fishing trip with my brother. My brother was drinking and confided to him that my ex-husband cheated on me. My brother was present when it happened. I was shocked, to say the least. I felt so betrayed by both. I can’t believe my brother would keep this secret from me, but my ex-husband has some dirt on my brother as well. 

I sent my brother a text telling him how upset I am about his having kept that secret from me. Had I known the truth, it could have changed my life in so many ways. He wants to talk about it with me, but I’m not interested in doing that right now. I don’t know if I can get past this. Can you advise if I’m doing the right thing? – BETRAYED IN CALIFORNIA


DEAR BETRAYED: I understand why you are furious. And it might be better if you don’t discuss this with your brother until you have had a chance to cool down. While it’s logical that you might not be able to trust your brother again, I do think that at some point, you should hear him out. Once you have done that, you will be in a better position to decide whether you want to have a relationship.


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.


To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable – and most frequently requested – poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)