Efforts to connect are met by silence

Published 8:19 am Friday, February 16, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: I am engaged to an amazing guy. We have been together a little more than two years. During our first year, his family was great to me. They acted as if they liked me. However, things have changed. When my fiancé and I are around them, they just wave and have little to say to me, if they say anything at all. They never call or text me; I’m always the one to do it first. Several times when I have texted, they haven’t replied.
My fiancé is very supportive. He tells me things will get better and tries to make me feel better about it, but I’m starting to get the impression they don’t like me. Also, I don’t feel I have anything in common with his mother and sister, which makes me feel even more awkward. I have tried to be friendly and to nurture a relationship with them, but I’m getting no effort in return. If you have any advice, please share. – UNLIKED IN KENTUCKY

DEAR UNLIKED: If you and your fiancé have a good relationship, stop obsessing about his family. They may have made a fuss over you in the beginning because you were “new.” Now a year has passed, and the novelty has worn off. I’m sorry your relationship with his family hasn’t turned out to be what you envisioned it would be, but life can be like that. So take this step by step.
Nurture the relationships you have with friends, other couples and your own family. Relax, enjoy the life you are building with the man you love and take your cues for dealing with your future in-laws from your fiance. He knows them better than we do.
DEAR ABBY: My stepson, who had bipolar II, died by suicide a year and a half ago when we were away. We thought he was doing better, and his mom saw no reason to stay at our house while we were gone for a few days. The police told us he had made his decision and there was nothing we could have done. This was my husband’s youngest, and he lived with us for 12 years. I grew quite fond of him, but I wasn’t with him for the first 18 years of his life.
I am still grieving, but my husband is grieving more. He had a heart attack five months to the day after his son’s suicide and then open-heart surgery. As my friend said after visiting him yesterday, that’s depression to the nth degree. He doesn’t see the need for therapy, and he hates extra medication. What can I do? – CONCERNED FOR HIM IN TEXAS

DEAR CONCERNED: Tell your husband you are still grieving the loss of your stepson and you know he is, too. Explain that you have a strong suspicion his recent heart attack may have been connected to the tragic loss of his son. His doctors should be put on notice if they don’t already know the whole story.
If your husband is adamant about not getting grief counseling, tell him YOU are joining a grief support group, and you NEED him to accompany you because you love him and don’t want to lose him, too.
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 www.DearAbby.com 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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