Life Advice



Ask Amy: In-laws’ unkindness leaves family divided

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Or is it best if I do and say nothing?

– Banished DIL

Dear Banished: You are revealing what seems like an impressive understanding and insight into this unfortunate dynamic; you describe it very well, and yet you can’t decide whether to talk to your husband about it?

He is hurting. He is in pain.

You may not have all of the answers or a surefire solution to an entrenched family dynamic, but you could help to ease your husband’s pain by encouraging him to open up to you.

You convey a sense of relief at being let off the hook by these unkind people who have never liked you. You also have a mature insight into your husband’s need – or possible desire – to have his folks in his life to some extent.


Start with, “Honey, I do not want you to carry a grudge on my behalf. If you want to see your folks, you should see them – and if you want to take the children for a visit, I welcome you to do that! How can I help you through this?”

You might offer to attend a joint session with his therapist in order to find comfortable ways to communicate about this.

Dear Amy: My fiancé “Charles” and I have a wonderful relationship. We’ve been together for eight months and plan to get married in the spring.

He has a son, “Brian,” who is 13 years old. Charles and his wife have been divorced for six years and Brian is with his dad every other weekend. He has his own room and routines while at his dad’s house.


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