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by Abigail Van Buren

Two Would Be a Crowd for Two Mothers in Law

DEAR ABBY: My son, "Rick," is divorcing his wife of five years, "June." It is a painful process and sad not only for them, but also the extended family.

Over the last three years June has developed symptoms of paranoia to the extent that Rick can no longer go out with friends or office associates. She thinks he's having an affair -- which he is not. She checks his cell phone, reads his e-mails and has turned to alcohol for comfort.

I am relieved that June is now on medication for her symptoms, but the damage is done.

How should I respond to innocent inquiries as to how my son and his wife are doing? We have many friends who know them well. I'm hoping you can give me an appropriate response that will protect both of them until they're able to get their lives back on track. -- MOURNING IN IOWA

DEAR MOURNING: Allow me to suggest a couple: "Rick and June have decided to go their separate ways," or, "They're divorced." You are not obligated to give any more details than that, nor should you.