DEAR ABBY: My father passed away a little over a year ago. Since then, I have started spending more time with my mother, and my husband does not like it. She is a huge help with our kids. On the day she gets them off the school bus, she will stay for dinner. Our kids love it when she's here.
My husband now wants this to stop. He says it annoys him. He gets angry when I talk to her on the phone, when I go to her house, when I help her with things -- everything!
I am torn. I love my mother and don't want my relationship with her to change. But every time I do anything with her, even have a quick conversation, my husband throws it in my face that I "put her before him." Please help me. I am not sure how much more of this I can take. -- STUCK IN THE MIDDLE
DEAR STUCK: How often is your mother at your house, and how long does she stay after those dinners? How often did you interact with her before your father died? Have you been ignoring your husband in favor of interacting with your mom?
That he feels so encroached upon or threatened that he's determined to alienate you from your widowed mother and is dictating how often you can visit or talk with her on the phone tells me he may be an extremely jealous and controlling person. This is such a red flag you should discuss it with a licensed marriage and family therapist. If he won't agree to go with you, I urge you to go without him. You should also encourage your mom to branch out into other activities, so she can reduce the amount of time she's with you.