Life Advice



Ask Amy: One brother gets the samovar, the other – bupkis

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I need some help countering favoritism in my in-law family.

My mother-in-law has been handing nice antiques to my husband’s younger brother, while at the same time giving my husband broken trinket items.

(I have written thank you notes for every item.)

I have tried to take the approach in private that we should expect nothing.

It's very hard to attend gatherings where my MIL bestows a gigantic heirloom on my BIL after years of her crowing that everything would go to her eldest son (my husband).

It feels like some cruel experiment where one child is starved and the other is given every resource possible – in front of the starving one, for added drama.


My BIL is sheepish, but he tends to enjoy his largesse.

He hasn't offered to split any of the big-ticket items with his elder brother, the one who was promised the things to begin with.

We have enough money to buy our own things, but it is disappointing to discover years of empty promises.

I don't want my MIL to know that years of slights have left their mark.


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