DEAR ABBY: I have two younger sisters, “Mara” and “Talia”. We grew up very close, thick as thieves.
But as an adult, my relationship with Mara has gone from strained to non-existent, especially as I have come closer to Talia, the youngest.
Mara gave birth to her first child five years ago and since then she has cut everyone out of her life, including our broken parents.
I was able to keep in touch with her, but she would accuse me of not wanting to see her because I could not make time in my schedule to see her children. (I’m a full-time student and have a full-time job.) Remember, Mara has not made an effort to meet my schedule either.
She finally cut all ties to me after Talia and I got matching tattoos centered around video games – a topic Mara is not interested in. She was sorry we did not also invite her to get one, but we did not think she would want a permanent cut of something she had shown disgust for in the past.
We invited her to get sister tattoos when she said she was hurt. She said she did not have time because of her children and she has not spoken to me since.
I feel like nothing I do will make her happy. Is it better that I do not have her in my life? Or should I try to fix it?
SISTER STRESS IN UTAH
DEAR SISTER STRESS: You have done nothing to remedy it. Looks like you have a high-maintenance sister looking for complaints and hanging on to them as if they were precious treasures.
I suppose you’re right in believing that nothing you do will make her happy, at least at this point, and – since you asked – you can feel better without her making you unhappy. I’m sorry on behalf of your parents and for you and Talia, but sometimes it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie.
DEAR ABBY: Our wonderful daughter married her college boyfriend two years ago. We paid for the wedding. I have noticed that everything he does is to his advantage.
When he comes home to us, he pats down on the couch with his cell phone in his hand until the food is ready. He looks into our fridge before being offered anything because he is hungry. As soon as the food is on the table, his hands are ready to serve themselves. When the meals are done, he runs straight back to the couch.
When we go out to eat, he leaves the table when the check arrives. (Always!) My wife gets mad if I mention “your turn” for the check.
They both have a good job, pay off a mortgage and fall out if they go out on their own. When we go out together, he orders the most expensive things on the menu. When they invite us, we pay.
I’m tempted not to go out with them again. Am I stingy because I feel angry?
FEELING USED IN ILLINOIS
LOVE FEELING OF USED: I do not think. Not only are you not stingy, you have been more generous than many fathers-in-law would have been.
This unfortunate situation can possibly be handled effectively if your wife has a “woman-to-woman” chat with your daughter about her husband’s arrogant behavior. But if that does not solve the problem, you may have to tolerate the moocher she married, warts and all.
One last thought: Next time they invite you out, forget your credit cards on purpose.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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