DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 13 years and have never been able to establish a close relationship with my in-laws. They have always gone out of their way to exclude me from family conversations and gatherings. They are very attentive toward my children, but they made it clear to me a long time ago that I am not welcome in their presence. I'm sick of it.
My husband is no help at all. He has private conversations with his parents, and it's like pulling teeth to get him to share any details with me. His family gets together for shopping trips, Bible seminars -- even getaway cruises. I am never included.
I am a likable person, Abby. I have many loyal, longtime friends and acquaintances. It's a mystery to me why my in-laws aren't kinder and more inclusive. As time goes by, it gets worse and worse. I love my children and my husband. But he is becoming more like them, and I feel increasingly isolated. I am desperately lonely for family fun and inclusiveness. Is this normal? -- THE OUTLAW IN EAST TEXAS
DEAR OUTLAW: For your husband's family to have treated you like an outsider all these years is deplorable. However, for your husband to tolerate it -- and cooperate with it -- is worse. It is betrayal. That said, you cannot change them. Your husband might see the light through counseling. However, if he refuses, it is time to ask yourself, seriously, if this is how you want to live the rest of your life, and if you're better off with him or without him.