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by Abigail Van Buren

Pastor Sells Truck for Parts and Takes Widow for a Ride

DEAR ABBY: I have been married 30 years and have had issues with my mother-in-law since before the wedding. She didn't want me to marry her son and has criticized my hair, my weight, my child-rearing, etc., during my entire marriage. Of course, she never says these things when my husband is within earshot. I didn't discuss it with him because we don't see her often.

We're planning a one-week visit with them, and my 50th birthday will occur during the visit. My husband told me I could do whatever I wanted on my birthday and mentioned including his parents. I told him I didn't want to spend the day with them and now he's mad at me.

I realize this may seem petty to you, but this is a milestone birthday that I'm not really looking forward to. What do I do? Do I "suck it up" and deal with her presence on my birthday or stand my ground? -- DREADING IT IN ALAMOGORDO, N.M.

DEAR DREADING IT: Remind your spouse that he SAID you could do anything you wished on your birthday, and that you didn't realize that telling him you wanted to spend this milestone without his parents would upset him. Then tell him that because he feels obligated to include his parents, of course, you won't object -- as long as he's willing to celebrate the occasion the way YOU would like after you return from the visit.

P.S. It's too bad you didn't tell him his mother was "gunning for you" decades ago, because he might have been able to nip it in the bud.