Life Advice



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

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

It would be an absolute slam dunk if my husband and I could appear too busy traveling and being successful to notice she'd given the entire household to her younger son!

How can I appear not to be hurt?

– Upset DIL

Dear Upset: It is possible that your mother-in-law believes that she is actually rebalancing her relationship with her sons.

After all, she displayed the terrible judgment throughout the years to promise all of her possessions to her eldest son. Perhaps those promises didn’t yield whatever reaction she desired (loyalty, dependence, control), and so now she is switching it up.

The effect of her behavior now is to drive a wedge between the two brothers, based on the flimsiest of reasons: i.e., who went home with the samovar.


The best way to appear not to be hurt is to not actually be hurt. The best way to counter favoritism is to accept it for what it is: an unfortunate and unfair attempt to manipulate and control.

If your husband’s feelings are hurt, he (not you) should discuss this with his mother: “Mom, give your things to whomever you like. But your blatant favoritism – first to me, now to my brother – is not good for our relationship.”

Dear Amy: In planning a fun outing with a group of friends, would it be rude of me to add to our usual texted invite, "please, no politics discussed, whatsoever?”

One friend is extremely constantly vocal on social media. Her posts can be very nasty and often include misinformation.


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