DEAR ABBY: I find my wife's daughter and son-in-law, who live nearby, to be very unlikable. Her daughter is gossipy, arrogant, smug and superficial. The husband is ill-mannered, devoid of social skills, lazy, impossible to carry on a normal conversation with and, worst of all, a liar.
Naturally, I am expected to see them often, and the more I am around them, the less I like them. This has become apparent to my wife. We have had more than a few "spirited discussions" about it, which I view as a real threat to the long-term well-being of our marriage.
I have tried mightily for her sake to overlook their major personality and character flaws, with no success. I don't want another divorce. Please help.
- Desperate in the Mid-Atlantic
DEAR DESPERATE: If you love your wife and don't want this marriage ruined, accept that you are going to have to accommodate to some degree her insufferable daughter and son-in-law. This does not mean you must love them or even enjoy their company. It does mean working out a compromise that includes spending some time with them.
You and your wife are not joined at the hip. Every visit doesn't have to include you. Develop a sense of humor where they are concerned. If you do, you won't force your wife to choose between you and her child, because the chances are you would lose.
DEAR ABBY: You sometimes print letters from people who are looking to meet people. While you have recommended volunteering, joining health clubs, going to church - and staying out of bars - something I have yet to see mentioned is a community-based arts organization. I met my husband of 30-plus years through a community theater group. Even if you don't find that special someone, you will make dozens of new friends and have the satisfaction of accomplishing something at the same time.
- Always Busy in Des Moines
DEAR ALWAYS BUSY: I love your suggestion!