Do I share family drama with my son? You are not wrong
Dear Annie: I’m a father of two amazing children and completely loyal husband of more than 20 years. But I have an ongoing issue with my parents-in-law, especially my father-in-law.
About 15 years ago, when our oldest child was a toddler, my in-laws became upset that I wasn’t pushing religion hard enough in the household. They told my wife I was a “bad father.” When I confronted my in-laws during a future visit, they denied saying it until my wife agreed with me in front of them. After that, they agreed to leave it to my wife and me to educate our kids in all matters religious. Unfortunately, not only did they continue to interfere with our parenting, but they also continued to speak negatively about me to my wife constantly. Years of such comments have caused great strain on my marriage, and I believe, at this point, divorce is inevitable.
The way I see it, my in-laws forced my wife (who is an only child) to choose between them and me. She’s tried to remain neutral, and I do my best to ignore their snark, but I’ve come to believe there’s no solution to this problem other than to split up.
And on top of all they’ve done to our marriage, my father-in-law has taken to saying he has our oldest child “in the palm of his hand.” He’s extremely manipulative, and this commentary troubles me greatly, as our teenager seems blissfully ignorant. My question to you is: Should I enlighten our 18-year-old as to what has occurred in his family, or leave things as they are because I’m overly sensitive? — Am I Wrong
Dear Am I Wrong: You’re not being overly sensitive. But I see no need to tell your son what a miserable old crank his grandpa is. At this point, he’s probably figured that out for himself. Likewise, you should give your wife more credit. We don’t get to choose our families, but we do get to choose our partners, and your wife chose you. Don’t lose sight of that fact. While it’s hurtful that she hasn’t stood up for you too much until that point, you should try expressing that to her constructively so that you might have the chance to work through it. Twenty years of marriage warrants at least a few hours of couples counseling before throwing in the towel, I would think.
Lastly, though it’s easier said than done, try not to take your father-in-law’s jabs personally. I guarantee he would have found fault with any man your wife might have married. Some people are so unhappy with themselves that they derive joy in deriding others. That’s his problem, not yours. Don’t take the bait.
Dear Annie: I am disturbed to still see people leaving their dogs in hot cars. Whenever I see this happening, I go into the nearest businesses and have announcements made over intercoms to try to track down the owners. If I can’t find them, I call 911 — because it truly is an emergency. Here are some relevant data points from Redrover.com.
“Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet.
“Even on seemingly mild days, an enclosed car can be deadly. In a Stanford University study, when it was 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature climbed to 116 degrees within one hour.
“A dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death.
“Studies show that cracking the windows has little effect on a car’s internal temperature.” — Friend to Fido
Dear Friend: I’m happy to print this reminder, which is always relevant but especially urgent as we enter the dog days of summer.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.