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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Is Caught Hiding Behind His Wife's Opinion

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Jake," and I have been married eight years. We get along perfectly, except for his family. They have conned and cheated us out of thousands of dollars and spread vicious rumors about me.

At one point, the tension and hostility were unbearable, and Jake and I separated. After four months, we realized that we were meant to be together, so we reconciled. We both gave up successful careers and moved 400 miles away from his family. We have been happy here for three years. Aside from yearly holiday get-togethers, we don't see his family -- which is great!

About two weeks ago (just when I thought everything was going well), we were walking along the road and found an adorable dog giving birth to puppies. She was dirty, hungry and dehydrated, but she and the puppies survived under our care. After trying to find the owner, we realized that the dog was probably abandoned.

Well, Jake mentioned the pups to his cousin "Cindy" (a woman who has spread rumors about me), and to our horror, Cindy announced she was coming the following weekend to "pick up the cutest pup in the litter." We never offered a puppy to her, and had mutually decided to keep all the dogs so we wouldn't break up the little family.

When Jake returned Cindy's call, I heard him tell her that I wanted to keep all the dogs and was not giving any of them away.

I feel betrayed and hurt. This made me wonder if the reason his family has always disliked me is that Jake plays the "good guy" and blames decisions his family doesn't like on me.

Abby, I am shocked. Why did he sell me out and make me the "evil" wife? -- FEELING HURT IN WASHINGTON STATE

DEAR FEELING HURT: Jake doesn't want to make waves in his already turbulent family. He learned early to be a "people pleaser" -- and now you're paying the price.

You would both benefit from marriage counseling. It would give you the opportunity to express your hurt and frustration, and it could help your husband gain the confidence to finally express what HE wants, even to his family.