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by Abigail Van Buren

Mother of Sons Dreads Her Future as a Mother in Law

DEAR ABBY: I have three wonderful sons, ranging in age from 12 to 19. For the last 10 years, I have had bouts of depression when I think about losing them to girlfriends or wives. I keep remembering all the negative mother-in-law jokes and the derogatory commercials I have seen. How can anyone think that a mother can turn off her love for a son because another woman might get jealous or possessive? It is pounded into everyone's head that mothers-in-law are horrible and unworthy of communication and love from their son and his family.

I am sick of it! I'm a good person. I love my sons with every ounce of my being. I'll be there for them whenever I am needed. It is horrifying to me that the first time I might say something that doesn't suit my son's wife, she'll cut me out of their lives.

Men are such doormats for their girlfriends and wives! Why don't they stand up for their mothers the way we stood up for them? -- SICK OF THE BAD REP

DEAR SICK: Where did you get the idea that the majority of in-law relationships are dysfunctional? Women who welcome their daughters-in-law and don't treat them as rivals usually have warm and loving relationships. Have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? I am concerned that your preconceptions will poison your future relationships. Please discuss them with a psychotherapist, and don't put it off.