Dear Annie: I know what you’re hiding
Dear Annie: My daughter-in-law is telling people that she is cheating on my son and that they are so far in debt they should file for bankruptcy. The person she told came to me and told me this.
I have been trying to figure out how to handle the situation. I feel as if I cannot just sit and do nothing. I thought I would go to my son and advise him to look into their finances and say nothing about the cheating. Now I am thinking about going to my daughter-in-law and saying to her, “I know about the affairs and your money troubles, and if you do not come clean and tell my son, I am going to.”
As you can see, I am really upset and do not know what my next move should be. Please help me. – Uneasy Mother-in-Law
Dear Uneasy: Consider the source. Would your daughter-in-law really have confided such a dark secret in someone who was likely to go to you with it? Recall those games of telephone when you were younger. “My dad likes to play tennis” could easily become “The cat biked to the dentist.” It’s very possible something has been lost in translation here.
Let your son and his wife know you’re there if they need to talk, but don’t confront them with shoddy accusations. It’s understandable that you’re protective of your son, but at the same time, there may be nothing to be protective of, and if you confronted them, you’d risk losing your son and daughter-in-law in one fell swoop. Keep your lips sealed. In real-life games of telephone, everyone loses.
Dear Annie: My mother is in her 70s now and seems to be increasingly judging people solely on their looks.
I love her dearly, and she has always been pretty bright, so I can’t fully understand her obsession with how everyone looks. She delights in mentioning who is fat, who looks old, etc., and it’s getting hard to be around her.
Perhaps not so surprisingly, she herself has let herself go and is at such an unhealthy weight, she can barely walk, so the judging of others is most likely coming from insecurities and the fact that she really dislikes the way she looks. But how do I tell her we don’t need to hear this nonstop judging? -- Son of Debbie Downer
Dear Son: As the saying goes, when you point a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you. You’re right that her insecurities are probably the real motivation behind her making these cruel remarks.
Rather than directly point out what she’s doing or let yourself snap back in anger, try building her up. The more positive she feels about herself the less negative she’ll feel about others.
It’s taxing to be around someone who’s always in a sour mood, so be sure to take care of yourself and spend time socializing with plenty of other people so your perspective isn’t too warped. Negativity is contagious.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Stuck at a Crossroads,” the woman who is upset that her long-term boyfriend doesn’t want her to tag along across the country when he goes to live with his parents because his mom is sick.
You should have added: Do you want to live with his parents and help change diapers, clean up after bathroom accidents and be on call night and day for taking one to the emergency room? It is not romantic, and that is why he said no to your moving there. He cannot be your boyfriend and be their son/caretaker right now. You would never see him. Caretakers seldom have time off. He does not need you to take care of or worry about right now.
Just be understanding. That is all he needs. If you do this, you may get that marriage proposal. If you were to push for what you want, it might never come.
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