DEAR ABBY: I have been married less than six months, and my husband and I are already having problems. The problems stem from a friend and her adult daughter. My husband lived with them for several years, and the daughter became his self-appointed hostess and surrogate wife. (She has a husband who ignores her.)
Since the day we announced our engagement, the planning of our wedding and honeymoon until now, she has tried to control our lives. She and her mother even planned a trip to coincide with our honeymoon so we could "all be together"!
Abby, he is 63 and I'm 43. I don't need her or anyone else planning our lives. My husband is very passive. He refuses to say anything to them in spite of my complaints. He has been friends with her parents for 40 years, and he acts as if he's so committed and loyal to them that he cannot tell them to stay out of our lives.
My husband even allowed the daughter to plan an Easter dinner at our home without my knowledge. She invited all of her friends and family. She tried to plan Thanksgiving dinner at our place, too, until I put my foot down. That made her angry. Now she leaves messages on the answering machine telling my husband to call her.
I have tried explaining to her in a civil manner how I resent her interference. There have been other incidents, and I'm only touching the treetops here. But she has been running my husband's life for so long, my unhappiness falls on deaf ears. I'm at my wit's end. I love my husband, but I can't remain married to a man who's more loyal to his friends than to his wife. What do you think I should do? -- GEORGIA IN GEORGIA
DEAR GEORGIA: Marriage is supposed to be a union between two people -- not four. Old friendships die hard, and it's possible your husband has been so close to this family for so long he's having trouble reorganizing his priorities now that he's a married man.
Tell him how threatened and encroached upon they have made you feel, and that his failure to draw the line is making your life intolerable. And since the wedding vows are so recent, invite the clergyperson who performed your marriage to dinner one evening, to refresh your husband's memory about the meaning of the vows you took together -- particularly the one about forsaking all others.