DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been married for almost two decades.
He will celebrate a landmark birthday this year.
Over a recent holiday weekend, we were invited to a cookout at one of his sisters' houses.
Fifteen minutes before we got there his brother whispered to me that it was actually a surprise birthday party for my husband.
Amy, my feelings were so hurt that his family excluded me from involvement in the party.
This is not the first time his family has not included me in family functions.
They seem to think that I can't keep a secret, but I never told anyone when one sister slept with the other sister's husband, and I haven't yet, but, boy, I sure want to now!
Should I continue to let them hurt my feelings or stay away from my husband's family?
My husband thinks what they did was disrespectful to me, but he would never confront his family.
— Tired of Taking It
DEAR TIRED: I applaud your discretion over the family secret you've been sitting on. It's a shame you're toying about blabbing about it now out of spite.
(Not to mention the fact that you just did.)
I agree that your husband's family should have included you in the planning of this party — or at least informed you in advance that it was happening.
Once you've simmered down, seek out the person responsible for the surprise party and say, "I really wish you'd given me a head's up on that beforehand. I would have liked to help."
I don't think you need to sever ties with your in-laws; you should start by asking them to treat you differently.
DEAR AMY: I am a happily married 27-year-old woman who just had her first baby.
What should be a very joyous time in my life has been painfully dampened by my mother's behavior.
I am an only child and have always had a very close relationship with my mom.
Once my son was born, she and my dad became distant.
My baby is now 5 months old, and I work two days a week.
My folks were watching him one of the days, but every time I would go to pick him up it was constant criticism on what I should do differently as a parent.
I tried to talk to my mom about this, but it turned into a huge argument.
I decided it wasn't worth the once-a-week bashing, and now the baby stays with my husband's parents both days.
It's been almost a month, and my mom has made no moves to see her grandchild.
Every time I try to call or e-mail it turns out badly.
This has been such a shock, and I don't know how to handle it. I suggested counseling for my mom, but she refused. Do I just have to let her keep missing out on her rapidly growing grandchild's life?
— Hurting in Washington
DEAR HURTING: I have a feeling there is more to this — and it is simmering beneath the surface.
I agree with your choice not to use your parents as baby-sitters. They may not want to baby-sit, and their hostility is their own inappropriate way of telling you that.
You should try one more time to get to the bottom of this — invite your mother to spend some time with you outside both your homes and without the baby.
Ask her how she is and what's going on in her life (don't talk about the baby).
Then you should ask her if you've done something to hurt her feelings. Stay calm, listen and then explain your reaction to her behavior.
DEAR AMY: I wish you hadn't endorsed the idea of a registry to help pay for a honeymoon.
A honeymoon is a celebration of the private aspect of marriage, and as such, it is hardly appropriate for anyone else to be involved in it, financially or otherwise.
DEAR JON: Couples who register for honeymoon contributions aren't asking for money for condoms, for goodness' sake — and many friends and family members are happy to contribute toward a trip.
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