Rude hubby is out of line with in-laws

Posted: April 24, 2013

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 18 years to a man I have a good relationship with. My problem is that he has always been extremely rude to my parents. They aren't critical or judgmental of him, and they try hard to be friendly and accommodating, perhaps thinking it might lessen the rudeness he continually shows them.

Example: If my mom asks him how his parents are doing, without looking up from his cellphone he'll grunt and say, "They're fine" - nothing more. When we go out to dinner, he usually doesn't join in the conversation. Instead, he just sits there with a dismissive, bored look on his face.

It has reached a point that it's affecting our marriage. Can you offer any suggestions for how this issue can be resolved?

- Tired of it in Toronto

DEAR TIRED OF IT: It would be helpful to know why your husband behaves this way. Does he dislike your folks? Does he have so little in common with them he doesn't know how to participate in a conversation with them?

Perhaps it would be better for all concerned if he saw them with you less often, say, 30 percent to 50 percent of the time. And before he does, make sure he is up to the task of being social because, as it stands, I agree that his behavior is rude.

DEAR ABBY: Last year, my darling mother lost her battle with cancer. Aside from grief and loss, a bigger issue looms over my life. It concerns my stepdad.

Before Mom was diagnosed, my stepfather was a selfish, self-centered man. At times, he was mean to her to the point that I wanted her to leave him. In fairness, once Mom was diagnosed, he stepped up to the plate and took excellent care of her until her death.

Now that she is gone, do I have any obligation to him?

- Searching for Guidance

DEAR SEARCHING: You are entitled to your feelings and, no, you do not have any obligation to your stepfather. If you encounter your stepfather during family gatherings, be polite and don't linger. That isn't pretending to like the man; it is good manners.

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