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Annie’s Mailbox: Mother-in-law sends hurtful text

Thu., Oct. 25, 2012, midnight

Dear Annie: A few years ago, I met the most amazing man. “Jim” is the love of my life. I fell in love with his family, too.

The problem is, after a year of marriage, I received a text message from my mother-in-law (Jim’s stepmother) stating that his family has never wanted me around and they don’t like me. I get along with Jim’s siblings, and they have assured me that they do not feel this way.

Jim works away from home for weeks at a time. When he is away, I am not invited to family dinners and outings the way I am when he is here. Then, I feel unwelcome when they do include both of us. I have told Jim that I will no longer attend his family functions. – Hurt in Pennsylvania

Dear Hurt: What a nasty bunch you’ve married into. Even if Jim’s stepmother is the only one who dislikes you, the others are following her directives. Your husband should make it clear to all of them that you are his family now, and they should treat you with respect and consideration, or they risk losing both of you. Meanwhile, have you invited his siblings and parents to your home? Hospitality works both ways. Do your best to ingratiate yourself and see whether it helps before you throw in the towel.

Dear Annie: “No Name Anywhere” wanted to tactfully ask her boyfriend to remove the personal effects of his late wife. You suggested she offer to help and said, “If he has children, perhaps they would like to go through her belongings.” She should insist on it.

When my dear mother-in-law passed away, my father-in-law’s new wife promptly donated everything to a thrift store. Dad didn’t care. The children, however, were not pleased that so many treasured items were gone without their having had a chance to go through them. This put additional strain on forging a relationship with a new stepmother. – Been There

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