DEAR ABBY: Sister-in-law’s influence creates hurdle for couple

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for six years. The problem is his sister and the emotional hold she seems to have on him. There have been several instances in which she has been disrespectful and invasive where OUR business is concerned.

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When I object to my husband about it, his response is either that he’s sorry or he acts like he doesn’t understand why I find her behaviour intrusive. When he talks to her on the phone, it’s as if he feels compelled to tell her OUR business, i.e. financial status, which I have told him repeatedly is none of her business, to which he agreed. Yet he recently did it again.

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He acts like he’s afraid of her — like she has some type of emotional hold on him. I’m about to blow a gasket. I want to revisit the subject in a way that he will FINALLY understand my point of view and not be so eager to share everything that goes on in our home. Any thoughts? — PRIVATE PERSON IN ILLINOIS

DEAR PRIVATE: You and your husband were raised in two different kinds of families. His is more open; yours, not so much. I would be curious to know whether your husband divulges this financial information of his own volition, or if his sister quizzes him about it. Because this makes you uncomfortable and you have asked your husband to refrain from doing it, it may take professional mediation to get through to him. Please consider it.

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DEAR ABBY: I lived in New York all my life. I moved to Florida a year ago because of my health and to be near my daughter and granddaughters. I have been depressed ever since I got here. I miss New York and my best friend very much. I can’t sleep. I sit and cry and I have no motivation to do anything. My daughter has been great to me, but when I try to talk to my husband about how I feel, he doesn’t care. He yells and walks away. I’m so confused. I feel I can’t move on. Can you give me any advice? — DISPLACED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR DISPLACED: Your reason for moving to Florida was a rational one. However, feelings are not always rational. Your move has placed you in a situation where the surroundings are unfamiliar and your support system (your best friend) is no longer there for you.

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The symptoms you have described are those of a deep depression. Do not allow it to become chronic. Some sessions with a licensed mental health adviser may help you to adjust to your new circumstances so you can explore your options for more social interaction.

P.S. I wish you had asked me about the wisdom of relocating BEFORE you did it because I would have advised you to RENT for a year to be sure you would be happy in Florida before making it permanent.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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