DEAR ABBY: My childhood was difficult. My mother was a bitter, unforgiving, jealous woman. My father traveled a lot for his business and just tolerated my mother when he was home. I decided to never have children to bring into this family.
When I first met Dave -- my husband of 10 years -- I told him my feelings. He said it was fine with him -- he never had a strong desire to be a father. Until recently, our marriage has been a happy one.
After constant nagging by my mother about "When are you going to give me grandkids?" I lied and said that Dave had a low sperm count and we wouldn't be having any. Now Dave is no longer invited to their home for monthly Sunday dinners.
Mother is suggesting I divorce Dave and marry "someone who can give her grandchildren." Dave says that because he is "uninvited" I shouldn't go either. My father sides with my mother and says she's a lonely person. He says he will change his will if I upset Mom by not visiting.
Abby, this has caused a real strain on our marriage. Please help. -- NOBODY'S MAMA IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR NOBODY'S MAMA: I'll try. The success of a marriage is not measured by the ability to produce grandchildren. If you hadn't lied to your mother, she wouldn't be blaming your husband for the fact that she doesn't have any. Tell her the real reason why you won't be having children, and how she influenced that decision. Her treatment of your husband and her meddling in your marriage are outrageous.
Tell your father to keep his money, and if your mother is "lonely" it's his job to fill her empty hours. If you allow your parents to continue to manipulate you, you will find yourself alone.