Brother-in-law is never shy in sharing political beliefs

Published 8:24 am Monday, April 8, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: This is the third time I have received a gift of a political book from my brother-in-law! We are poles apart politically. It came with a message to “please read the book THIS time.” He is expecting a book report and discussion of the book when he next visits. 

He started doing this several years ago after my sister died. She used to keep him politically in check, but he has become increasingly obnoxious and emboldened. I have tried tactfully responding that I do not enjoy reading political books, that I do not approve of name-calling, that those who disagree with us are not “stupid” and we just need to accept our differing viewpoints. 

There is no way to have a rational political discussion with him. I’m trying to preserve family unity, which is very important to me. My brother wants to threaten him to stop harassing me. My son and his wife suggested sending him things that reflect MY political philosophy. 

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What do you think I should do? I waver between anger and laughter. By the way, I sent him a box of chocolate chip cookies, which he loves, for the holidays. – HARASSED IN OHIO


DEAR HARASSED: Your brother-in-law is not going to change. Unless you are willing to tolerate his political browbeating into eternity, return the book and “postpone” his next visit indefinitely. Continue sending him his chocolate chip cookies ONLY if he agrees to quit sending you political literature. Family unity may be important to you, but your late sister’s husband has distanced himself, and that is no one’s fault but HIS OWN.


DEAR ABBY: I have been going out with a man who is nine years younger than I am. He’s a musician who plays bass guitar in several bands. I am retired. I love going out dancing with him and being social with other friends. I met him at a social club a year and a half ago. He works during the week at a fast-food place. Some weekends, he goes away on gigs with the band. He’s been married four times. (I have been married only once.) 

My problem is, he never has any money. He is always struggling to pay his bills. I have invested in this relationship with concert tickets, hotels, etc. He pays only occasionally. I haven’t even received a birthday or Christmas gift from him. I, of course, gave him both. 

I think he’s cheap. I feel sorry for him that he’s a grown man and doesn’t have his own place. I have taken breaks from him a couple of times because I know he’s not going to change, and I need to move on. Please advise. – ALWAYS HOPING FOR MORE


DEAR ALWAYS HOPING: The question you must answer for yourself is how much “entertainment tax” you are willing to pay for the pleasure of this wandering minstrel’s company. You foot the bills for his and your entertainment because it is part of your “unwritten contract,” and he expects it. 

This four-times-married man has chosen a career he loves but that notoriously doesn’t pay well. You know who he is. Have you spoken to him about your feelings on this? If you haven’t, do it now. And if this arrangement no longer suits you, move on. 


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.


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