Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Best of’ column discusses monster in-laws

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: Every year I step away from my column for two weeks to work on other creative projects. (Anyone interested in my non-advice oriented personal essays and photographs can subscribe to my free newsletter:

I hope you enjoy these “Best of” columns from 10 years ago. Today’s topic: “The trouble with in-laws.”

Dear Amy: I cannot deal with my “monster-in-law.” She’s bossy, antagonistic, and gossips about my personal business.

As much as I try to care about her, my dislike for her has been surfacing more and more. I cannot seem to come up with an effective way to cope with her.

I almost called off our wedding twice, partly because of her. Antidepressants helped.

Now I am pregnant, and the only thing I hear from her is how we must name our son (if it’s a boy) the family name “Bernie” (he would be the fourth one).


Neither my husband nor I want to use this name, but she is adamant that we must, and says that if we do not, she will still call him “Skipper” – the nickname the family uses for all of the other Bernies in the family.

No matter how much I ask her not to, she insists.

I am beginning to hate her for it. I don’t know what to do, and the more I get upset about her behavior, the more my husband and I argue.

Any advice for us?


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