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by Abigail Van Buren

Girl Thinks Stepsisters' Secret Is Unsafe to Keep

DEAR ABBY: I married a caring, thoughtful man who is also a loving father. My problem is my father-in-law, who constantly "reminds" me that I'm the best thing that ever happened to his son and that there is no way my husband would be successful if it weren't for my influence in his life.

While I'm happy to have my father-in-law's approval, it makes me uncomfortable, and it's hurtful to my husband. My husband was not a wild child in his youth, so I don't know why Dad feels my husband would be a failure if not for me. My husband is a wonderful man on his OWN merits, not mine, and the implication is insulting. How can I help my father-in-law see this? -- MARRIED TO A GREAT GUY

DEAR MARRIED: The next time your father-in-law "compliments" you by insulting your husband, look him in the eye and nail him. One way to do that would be to say, "Exactly what do you mean by that, Dad, because I find the implication insulting." I predict he will squirm. And when he's done hemming and hawing, tell him his son is the ideal man for you, you feel lucky to have him, and you don't appreciate it when someone who is supposed to love him doesn't give him credit for all that he has accomplished.