DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together since we were 21, and he has always had a distant relationship with his parents. I encouraged him during the first few years of our marriage to call them and visit. I stopped doing that after his mom and I had some choice words.
If he wants a relationship with them, that is up to him. The problem is, when she tries to call and text with typically no response from him, she reaches out to me. We have two daughters, so I don't mind sharing with her how they are doing. What I object to is her occasionally asking me to pass on messages to my husband. I'm a working mom of two, and I don't have time to be anyone else's secretary. The icing on the cake came when she informed me that the family dog they'd had for 15 years passed away and asked me to tell him. I told her what time he could be reached, but instead of taking my suggestion, she asked me again. I ended up telling him.
It wasn't my responsibility to do that, and I'm irritated with myself that I can't be frank about how she and his dad need to contact their son. Any suggestions would be helpful. -- FINDING A BACKBONE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR FINDING: It may take courage, but the next time your mother-in-law tries to make you her messenger, tell her that what she's asking makes you uncomfortable and that she needs to convey the information herself -- by either texting her son or emailing. If, after that, she says she can't get through to him, point out that you no longer want to be in the middle. Period. And let your husband know what you've done.
Will this endear you to her? Definitely not. But the individuals who need to heal the relationship between your husband's parents and their son are the three of them, not you.
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.
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