Dear Annie: I'm 55 and have been married to the same man for 27 years. Before we met, my husband had been living with "Miranda" for six years. Although Miranda has had many relationships since, she never married.
All these years, my mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law have maintained a relationship with this woman, often meeting for lunch. They support and attend all her charity events. What really is galling is that they do all these things behind my back. No one even had the respect to tell me that Miranda was invited to my sister-in-law's wedding. I was a bridesmaid and was shocked to see her name on a place card for the reception.
I have always been close to my husband's family. We all live in the same town, while my family is out of state. I am constantly hosting holiday and birthday dinners for them, and helping their families with whatever arises. I have tried being the dutiful daughter and sister-in-law, but my patience is wearing thin.
My husband doesn't attend these events, but he does email Miranda occasionally. I found out that my in-laws drove hours to get to her brother's funeral when my husband mentioned in passing that his sister's car broke down on the way.
I am so hurt that this is going on after all these years. One day, my sisters-in-law treat me like their BFF, and the next day, they spend time with Miranda. Not only have I become distrusting of them, I have taken a major step back from our previously close relationship.
Am I too sensitive and insecure, or is the situation just weird? -- Stressed
Dear Stressed: Actually, had your in-laws stopped contact with Miranda and then picked it up again after 27 years, we'd find that weird. But since they have been in touch the entire time, we'd say you shouldn't try to dictate their friendships -- even with ex-girlfriends. You believe that your in-laws are untrustworthy because they haven't told you, but we think they are sparing your feelings. They obviously tell your husband, who chooses not to transmit the information to you, likely for the same reason.
Your in-laws have been friends with Miranda longer than they have known you. We suggest you tell them how hurt you are that they feel they must hide their contact with Miranda and, although you don't need to know the details, you'd prefer not to be kept in the dark. As long as they aren't trying to undermine your marriage, you have no cause for concern, and it would be a shame to let this wreck the good relationship you've built over the years.
Dear Annie: You printed a suggestion from "Indiana," saying that it might be easier for "Confused and Torn" to bear the loss of her beloved Pomeranian if she has the dog cremated and states in her will that she wants the ashes put in her coffin.
While this is a lovely idea, it will not help to put it in her will. Wills are read after the funeral. She needs to make arrangements in advance with her family and friends, letting everyone know her wishes. -- Florida
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