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by Abigail Van Buren

Trash Talking Creates a Stink After Warring Couple Reconciles

DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law, "Bernice," hasn't spoken to me since her son and I were married four years ago. We got along well prior to the wedding, but because I didn't let her make major decisions in the wedding she stopped speaking to me. I have done everything I can to mend our relationship -- sent her letters of apology, birthday gifts, etc. -- still no response.

My husband is in the middle. I have really had it with Bernice and don't want to try to mend fences with her any longer, but my husband is very close to his mom and wants me to keep trying. What can I do? Please help. -- DAUGHTER-IN-LAW DILEMMA

DEAR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: Your husband isn't in the middle. His mother has been trying to push you out in left field for four years, and he is unwilling to put his foot down and stop her.

If you're smart, you will take the high road and continue with the gifts on special occasions. With luck, she'll continue to ignore them and you won't have to tolerate her. A mother-in-law who carries a grudge and thinks her "suggestions" are ironclad is a bona fide burden. Be glad you don't have to suffer her presence, and keep your fingers crossed.