DEAR ABBY: My son recently confided in me that his fiancée is pregnant with our first grandchild. He asked me not to share this information with my wife, his mother. He knew she would be upset that he was in the process of breaking up with her fiancée. I told him that he would keep his trust for a short while, but that he should please tell mom soon.
Two weeks passed before my son finally told his mom about the pregnancy. She was surprised. On the way home, she asked me if I knew about it. Well, my life flashed before my eyes. I couldn’t lie, so I admitted that I knew. She was furious with me and said that she should have prepared her for this news and thrown her under the bus. A great discussion followed. Was I wrong to keep my son’s trust? — IN RETROSPECTIVE IN GEORGIA
DEAR IN RETROSPECTIVE: No, you were not wrong. Because he was asked to keep this a secret, it wasn’t “his” news from her to share. His grown son asked you to keep it for yourself, and it would have been a mistake to betray him before he was ready to tell his mother himself. Even if he breaks up with his partner, that baby will be a part of all of their lives for the foreseeable future. Move on and put this dispute to rest.
DEAR ABBY: After 17 years, my husband and I separated. He met another person and fell madly in love with her. She is now back, but life with him is very different. He does not show me affection, nor affection, never a passionate kiss. Our relationship is not like before.
You can’t talk to him, and he calls me all kinds of names, something I’ve never done before. He tells me that he loves me, but he doesn’t show it. When he gets to bed, he sleeps on the edge of the bed without touching or sex. What should a woman do? I really love him. — CRYING IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR CRYING: It appears that your husband may not have returned to you voluntarily. Tell her that she can’t live the way she is now and offer her the “option” of marriage counseling to see if their very ill relationship can get back on track. If the answer is no, as much as you love him, instead of continuing to tolerate the emotional abuse you are experiencing, walk away from that “marriage.”
DEAR ABBY: My husband’s father is an alcoholic who lives with my husband and I and our two teenage children. I buy and prepare his food, I put gas in his car and I buy his alcohol. I even get the dog out of him. (If I don’t, he lets the dog pee in my house and destroy the hardwood floors.) When he drinks, he gets angry and threatens my husband and me. He let his dog poop in my driveway one day and then proceeded to chase us. When I finally got tired of bothering him, I picked it up and put it on the hood of his car. I was wrong? — LIVING WITH THE DEVIL
DEAR LIFE: I think so, but what does your husband think of all this? Is he so used to Dear Old Dad’s antics that he accepts them as normal? One way to end your father-in-law’s abuse would be to stop buying him gas and his drink. Of course, he won’t like that, but if he becomes threatening when he’s loaded, it’s the only way to avoid evicting him to protect yourself and your teens from his outbursts.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.