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by Abigail Van Buren

Needy Mother-in-Law Plays the Diva in Family Drama

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 22 years. My father-in-law's health declined and he died last year. My mother-in-law, "Babe," and I didn't get on well in the past, but we have seemed to patch things up.

Since my father-in-law's death, she has become very needy. As a result, my father has been at her beck and call, and I have become closer to her, too. My mother has started to become suspicious of the relationship between Babe and my dad. They have been seen drinking together and ignoring my mother.

Abby, this has become a horrible mess. Babe says she has kissed my father and they are attracted to each other. She has no regret about her behavior. I think she's a hussy! My mother is now suicidal, and it's all I can do to keep her afloat. I am a cancer survivor and don't need any of this stupid drama. Please help. These people are all pushing 70. This is not only affecting my marriage, but also my life. -- M.I.L. FROM HELL

DEAR M.I.L. FROM HELL: Babe may be "needy," but she appears to also be a shameless predator, and your father appears to have the judgment of a 16-year-old. Please tell your mother that suicide is not the answer, and she should not consider doing your father the "favor" of turning him into a grieving widower. It may take the help of a therapist to help her regain her sense of balance, and possibly the services of a lawyer to help her convince her husband that a divorce would be something he can't afford at this point in his life.

You should not be trying to handle this on your own. For your own sake, make yourself less available to your mother-in-law. That she would brag to you about trying to wreck your parents' marriage is beyond the pale.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Marriage & Divorce | Death