Time To Accept a Closed Door
Dear Margo: My sister and I, two years apart, have always had a strained relationship. She considers me the favored one because I was the baby in the family. My sister had her first child a year ago this month. I have yet to meet my nephew. When she gave birth, she wanted our mother there, which I totally understand. After a few months, I tried to make arrangements to go see her and her new family, but was told each time they already had plans. She lives four hours away, so it would have to be a weekend excursion.
We were all going to get together at my mother’s, but she let it slip that she was just up at my sister’s for the christening at church. I was upset that I wasn’t invited and figured at that point that she really didn’t want me around.
My nephew is turning 1 this month, and I was invited to his birthday party, but I think that was just to keep the peace and she really hopes I won’t show up. I’m at a loss about what to do. Should I go and just deal with it, or is this relationship basically done? It’s sad, but I do recognize that once my mother passes on, there will be no reason for my sister to ever speak to me again, and I suspect she will do just that. — Wishing It Were Otherwise
Dear Wish: While I recognize your wish to have a relationship with your sister, it sounds like a rocky road. These things happen, which is why God invented friends. I have long thought that being related is an accident of DNA, and sometimes the blood ties bind us, and sometimes they don’t. I would go to your nephew’s birthday party, being as affable as you can, and see what the result is. If the visit does not feel comfortable or genuine, you will have a good hint about the future of the relationship. — Margo, fatalistically
When the Clan Is Crazy
Dear Margo: I married at 18. Shortly before my wedding, both of my parents died, leaving me with no living relatives. I looked forward to sharing life with my husband’s large, close-knit family. But the day after the ceremony, my new mother-in-law started a crusade to divorce me, not only from her son, but from her entire family. Instead of welcoming me, she immediately went to each family member with amazing lies about me. I never got the chance to know them, or them, me. His mother banned me from all family functions and forbid anyone to have contact with me. She insisted we move away to a rural area, isolated from them and everyone else.
On every holiday and on the day of every family event for the past 25 years, I have cried watching my husband drive off for a day of fun and memories with his family, leaving me alone. He says he cannot disobey his mother, especially now that she is terminally ill. After she’s gone, I’m hoping things will change and I finally will be allowed to join the clan. My husband feels that things should continue as they are, relishing the role of martyr. I never can discuss this with him, as he has an uncontrolled temper and has resorted to physical violence. Should I simply accept that I never will be able to call anyone family or even friend? Sadly, divorce is out of the question for many reasons. — Alone
Dear A: I must tell you that this may be one of the strangest letters I have ever received. That your husband (abusive, no less) would cave to his crazy mother and move and then go by himself to family functions for 25 years is beyond my comprehension. Was there no clue about this nuttiness before you married? Your apron-string tied husband sounds as bad as Mom, and I don’t know why you haven’t fled before now. If divorce really is impossible, I would live apart and make friends of your own. You do not have to remain an indentured wife. — Margo, sadly
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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