DEAR ABBY: I'm not proud to write this, but I don't like my son-in-law. I think the feeling is mutual. He's arrogant and thinks he knows everything.

My daughter and I had a close bond before she married him. That quickly changed. She barely comes to my house anymore, and I don't see my grandkids as often as I'd like. I don't have a car (I'm working on that), and I rely on them for transportation. I don't like going to their house because I don't feel wanted.

I tolerate my son-in-law because I know my daughter loves him and I try hard to stay out of their business. What advice can you offer me? -- WISHING THINGS WERE BETTER

DEAR WISHING: Has it occurred to you that your daughter may be hurt or uncomfortable because she knows you dislike her husband? If he makes your daughter happy and is a good father to your grandchildren, give him points for that, and be glad you aren't the one who has to live with him.

You don't have to love him, but you must maintain a cordial relationship if only for your daughter's sake. Keep working on getting that car so you'll have your own transportation when you need it, and your visit won't be perceived as an imposition.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

DEAR ABBY: My son is angry to the point of rage that my daughter is dating his best friend, "Ron." He says his sister "betrayed him" because when she and Ron broke up, she promised never to date another of his friends again, but went back to dating Ron. He also blames my husband and me for encouraging them. They are only 18 months apart in age.

We have shared that we understand his feelings of loss regarding his friend, but we don't think there's anything wrong with her dating Ron. I don't think anything will make him feel better except them breaking up again, and that doesn't look like it will happen.

My son is 22 and my daughter is 20. This is ruining the once close-knit family we had. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. -- MESS ON THE EAST COAST

DEAR MESS: Your son may be 22, but he needs to grow up. If he values his friendship with Ron, he will have to accept that he cannot control the love lives of others, and the person he is punishing with the stance he has taken is himself. It's time for you to step back. You and your spouse will be better off if you stop allowing your adult son's tantrum(s) to affect you.


DEAR ABBY: While dining in a fancy restaurant recently, I noticed a woman sitting a few tables away who had a number of tattoos on her arms and elsewhere. When she came by, I politely asked her what one of them meant. My wife was furious! Did I do something wrong? -- INQUIRING QUESTION

DEAR INQUIRING: Tattoos often have deeply personal meanings to the wearer. Although some individuals might welcome the opportunity to explain them to a stranger, others would not because the tat may commemorate a very personal -- or sad -- milestone. Your wife may have become upset because she felt the question was presumptuous.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics

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