Dear Amy, a few years ago my mother-in-law “Betsy” was unfaithful. This tore her family apart. More than once, Betsy asked my husband to “bring the bad news” to “Anthony” (his father) and comfort his father when he was devastated.
I was mad at her.
My parents were abusive in my childhood. My in-laws have always been wonderful. I saw them as “replacements” for my broken family. Betsy destroyed that.
After she decided not to walk around anymore, her husband immediately greeted her again and pretended that nothing had ever happened.
My father-in-law told me that I should also pretend that nothing had ever happened and that that was forgiveness. This instruction destroyed any remaining feelings I had for both of them.
I made peace with it, but the respect I used to have for her is gone.
They want everything to be puppy dog and rainbow again, but I can’t.
I am polite; I go to family reunions but it feels like a chore. My husband tells me he understands (he’s disappointed too) but I know he wants me to be kinder. I just can not.
I would feel best if I didn’t have to be around her at all, but we want our kids to see their grandparents.
What would you recommend?
Dear Implacable ?: People can be stupid, unethical, dishonest and hurtful. In a long marriage, partners sometimes betray each other, showing that they are flawed partners and parents.
Because of your personal history, you care deeply about your in-laws being the perfect parents you never had. Unfortunately, they turned out to be the imperfect parents many of us have.
One of the mistakes they made was including their son as a go-between in their marriage. They also seem to insist that you clear your memory bank and carry on as if this family drama never happened.
Ideally, they would also involve you in the solution because they have drawn you into the problem by telling you, “We work out our problems within the marriage. We hope that you will stay with us. “
The way for you to recover from this is not to have a cup of “instant forgiveness” but to explore your own forgiving capacity. As always, true forgiveness would serve you more than they do.
I think it is natural and normal – and good judgment – to go through a period of deep skepticism during this time, but your goal should be to come to a nuanced and mature understanding.
Dear Amy, after a Little League baseball game, my wife and I took our daughter’s family of five to lunch at a new medium-sized restaurant.
Understandably, we sat in a larger adjoining room with three teenagers.
After we ordered, three fathers sat nearby with a total of five teenage boys. The fathers sat at one table and the “boys” at another.
Immediately the boys became very animated, screaming and laughing incessantly.
We looked at the parents and boys several times without the parents trying to calm their boys down.
Our server apologized but made no effort to calm the boys down.
Towards the end of our meal the manager offered to take us to the bar but it was too late.
I tipped the waiter generously, but the waiter and manager should have done more to make our meal pleasant.
What was our best option?
– Distressed diner
Dear Distressed, Your server does not have authority to close an adjacent table. I can imagine the manager also refusing to discipline a table crowded with young guests when their parents are right there. For this reason, you have been offered the opportunity to move.
Instead of trying to control the situation with glances, you could have gone to these fathers and said from father to father, “I know your boys are having a great time, but would you mind asking them to do that Decrease volume? We have trouble hearing each other. “A thoughtful parent would then take over and ask the boys to come forward.
Dear Amy, You gave “Not From Wales” a funny and thoughtful reply that opposed your husband talking to family members on the phone in Welsh.
However, you overlooked one important point: he was on the phone. She listened. He could talk on Mars if he wanted; It’s his talk!
– Not from Mars
Dear Mars, great point.
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