DEAR ABBY: I have been married for nearly 10 years. I guess I never noticed this while we were dating, but as our marriage has progressed, it's becoming increasingly apparent he's a complete "mama's boy." He calls her constantly with updates (some I'd prefer she didn't know about) and invites her over frequently without consulting me.
I have tried to gently express that sometimes it's a bit much (especially because he tells her things before he tells me), but he becomes defensive and accuses me of not liking her. It doesn't help that his father died five years ago, leaving her a rather young widow. I feel his protectiveness over her has accelerated because he fears she will be alone too much.
My mother-in-law is a nice person, but I need my space. After work, I want to come home and spend time with my husband and children without another person always being there. It has reached the point that I'm starting to resent her, and that's not fair to her. Please help. -- CROWDED IN WISCONSIN
DEAR CROWDED: You're right, it isn't fair that you are aiming your resentment at your mother-in-law. The person who should be the target of your displeasure is your husband. I assume you have already tried communicating to him the legitimate complaints you listed in your letter. It may require help from a marriage counselor to get him to understand that you don't dislike his mother, but that certain things between a husband and wife should remain private. Yes, she is his mother, but common courtesy would dictate that the two of you agree about how often you will come home after a hard day's work to find her sitting there.