DEAR ABBY: I am a 32-year-old divorcee who is soon to be remarried, and already I am having trouble with the "in-laws." I have never encountered people so rude in all my life. They refuse to have anything to do with me.
My fiance's parents were cordial and friendly to me until I began dating their son. Then came the dirty looks and rude behavior. Abby, I have never done anything to offend these people. Even my fiance agrees that I have done nothing wrong.
His mother said point-blank to me, "You wait until someone steals YOUR son and see how it feels!" I realize that there might be some sadness that her "baby" has decided to leave the nest, but for heaven's sake, the baby is 26 years old and has a mind of his own. This is nature taking its natural course.
It has been a year and a half, and they still will have nothing to do with me. However, they expect their son to come home and visit, and he does. I am angry that he goes there knowing full well how they feel about me. What should I do? -- HURT IN ADAMS CENTER, N.Y.
DEAR HURT: Your fiance's mother is still attached to her son by an emotional umbilical cord, and the only person who can successfully cut it is your fiance. The situation won't improve until your fiance makes it clear that he expects his future wife to be treated with courtesy and respect, or they won't be seeing much of either of you.
DEAR ABBY: I would like to point out something you seem to have missed in your response to "Itching on the East Coast." She was upset with her sister-in-law, who is a hypochondriac and always knows how everyone feels. Unfortunately, I truly DO know how "Itching" feels; my father died last Christmas after an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer. I, too, spent many sleepless nights caring for or worrying about him. Other people, including my husband and children, got on my nerves -- especially those who were trying to make me feel better.
Luckily, I had to see my family doctor to get an expired prescription refilled. The short story is, I broke down in her office. I told her that my father was dying, that I wasn't sleeping well, and that people were getting on my nerves so much that I wanted to scream at them. She diagnosed me with reactive depression and prescribed medication to help me through that difficult time.
If "Itching" has put up with her sister-in-law for 13 years, I'm willing to bet that the sister-in-law's personality is not the real problem here. Please urge her to see a doctor and describe what is going on in her life. It's extremely difficult to watch a loved one die under any circumstances. When you are one of the primary caretakers in such a situation, the emotional strain can be overwhelming.
Depression can be terribly debilitating, but with the medications available today, it can also be controlled. Sign me ... REALLY HAVE BEEN THERE IN ILLINOIS
DEAR REALLY: Thank you for sharing your insight. When the writer complained about her sister-in-law's actions over a period of many years, it did not occur to me that the real problem might be that the stress of her present situation was coloring her reactions. I agree with you that a visit to her physician could be in order. Thank you for pointing it out.
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