DEAR ABBY: I have been married several years to an only child. Despite our objections, my mother-in-law, "Diana," continues to treat my husband, "Rob," as though he's helpless and me as his equally incapable sidekick.

I should have realized there was trouble when Diana and other in-laws came to visit us on our honeymoon -- unannounced and uninvited. When we go to a buffet restaurant, she prepares plates for him. She tells him what clothes to wear to events and even irons them for him. She includes our names on cards, gifts, flowers, etc., for which we've had no input or financial contribution. Anytime we mention going out of town, she attempts to invite her husband and herself to tag along.

Rob and I are responsible adults who work full time. We have never asked his parents for anything. I find her behavior insulting and intrusive. Even if I wanted to wait on my husband hand and foot, I'd have to beat my mother-in-law to it.

I have done everything I can think of to remedy this, from having Rob speak to her to being frank with her myself. Aside from saying hello when I answer the phone, I choose to have no relationship with her. Am I being overly sensitive, or is Diana overstepping her boundaries? -- MARRIED TO AN ONLY CHILD IN KENTUCKY

DEAR MARRIED TO AN ONLY CHILD: If your description of your mother-in-law is accurate, she's the living definition of a mother who can't let go. Because you and Rob have spoken frankly to her about this and her behavior persists, she strikes me as overbearing.

By now it should be clear that Diana isn't going to change. Your best recourse may be to put geographic distance between you if and when it's feasible.

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