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“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Apr 23, 2013
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 18 years to a man I have a good relationship with. My problem is he has always been extremely rude to my parents. They aren't critical or judgmental of him, and they try hard to be friendly and accommodating, perhaps thinking it might lessen the rudeness he continually shows them.

Example: If my mom asks him how his parents are doing, without looking up from his cellphone he'll grunt and say, "They're fine" -- nothing more. When we go out to dinner, he usually doesn't join in the conversation. Instead, he just sits there with a dismissive, bored look on his face.

I have told him I don't want him to come with me when I visit them. It only takes a few times before he asks if he can come again and promises to try to behave. But after a few visits, he reverts back to his old, rude ways. It has reached a point that it's affecting our marriage. Can you offer any suggestions for how this issue can be resolved?-- TIRED OF IT IN TORONTO

DEAR TIRED OF IT: It would be helpful to know why your husband behaves this way. Does he dislike your folks? Does he have so little in common with them he doesn't know how to participate in a conversation with them? Is he this way with any other people?

Perhaps it would be better for all concerned if he saw them with you less often, say, 30 percent to 50 percent of the time. And before he does, make sure he is up to the task of being social because, as it stands, I agree his behavior is rude.

He's not a teenager with his nose buried in a cellphone; he's an adult who should know better. If he finds your parents' company less than stimulating, he should be a better actor.

DEAR ABBY: Last year my darling mother lost her battle with cancer. Aside from grief and loss, a bigger issue looms over my life. It concerns my stepdad.

Before Mom was diagnosed, my stepfather was a selfish, self-centered man. At times he was mean to her to the point that I wanted her to leave him. In fairness, once Mom was diagnosed, he stepped up to the plate and took excellent care of her until her death.

I have other issues with my stepfather. He was inappropriate with me, sharing things he should have kept to himself. It caused my mother great heartache and made me lose respect for him. I am still uncomfortable around him. Mom knew how I felt and understood.

Now that she is gone, do I have any obligation to him? He has a strained relationship with his only child. My sibling thinks I'm too hard on him, but doesn't understand the major problems our stepdad caused. I don't want to continue pretending I like him. Please help, Abby.-- SEARCHING FOR GUIDANCE

DEAR SEARCHING: You are entitled to your feelings and, no, you do not have any obligation to your stepfather. If your sibling wants to see him, that's his/her choice. Explain to your sibling your reasons for feeling the way you do -- and if you encounter your stepfather during family gatherings, be polite and don't linger. That isn't pretending to like the man; it is good manners.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Apr 23, 2013
I swear I did not write Ltr 1.

I agree with the answer to Ltr 2
animaniactoo

New York, NY

#3 Apr 23, 2013
LW1 - Well at a minimum, the first time he reverts back to his old ways, let him know that he's not welcome back the next time. You're just dragging it out waiting for him to get *better* while he slips further and further backwards, giving him no incentive (since he apparently does want to be part of the family format) to pay more attention to how he's behaving.

Question though: Is he really just like this with your parents, or is this the man you married and it only bothers you when you're in your parents' company?

LW2 - Your obligation is to be clear with him about how you generally feel about him and how much of a relationship you wish to have with him - or not. And then be civil when you are in his company because your sibling has invited him to something you are also there for.

You really don't have to defend your dislike of him.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#4 Apr 23, 2013
1 Take him every other time, and if he acts like a child treat him that way. Promises to try and behave??? Really? That is whacked

2 Good news! Your obligation to being nice to this guy is over. Feel free to treat him the same way you would any other stranger who tells you inappropriate things.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#5 Apr 23, 2013
1- After 18 years of marriage, this man can learn to fake it. Stop bringing him along until he can grow up.

2- Just be civil.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#6 Apr 23, 2013
LW1: Thatís rude and disrespectful to your parents and to you. Leave him at home. Why would you marry someone like that in the first place?

LW2: Thatís your call.

“FD&S is no way to be.”

Since: Feb 13

United States

#7 Apr 23, 2013
1. It would have been nice if you mentioned what explanation he has given.

2. Tell your sib you are separate people who can each live their own lives. It shouldn't be that hard.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#8 Apr 23, 2013
L1: Given the scenario the LW gave, I don't understand why she can't chime in -- Oh, his parents have been doing x, y and z or with some other family news from his side and then prompt her husband to expand. Other than that, the man is grown, I would not take someone who was consistently rude over to family and/or friends.

L2: Your mom chose him to be in her life, you didn't. You only owe him whatever courtesy you give to any other distant relative in the family.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#9 Apr 23, 2013
L1: Married for 18 years and you can't TALK about this? What's it like being married to a surly 14 year old?

L2: What Abby said.
animaniactoo

New York, NY

#10 Apr 23, 2013
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
L1: Married for 18 years and you can't TALK about this? What's it like being married to a surly 14 year old?
They do talk about it. The problem is that they can't *solve* it, because both of them keep bringing the same freaking pattern back to the table every time.

He means it when he says he'll try harder and he does and then he relaxes and reverts. She believes he can try harder in a vacuum and won't backslide, while she does nothing different to stop his backslide from landing him on his butt at the bottom of the hill instead of only a few inches back.

Since: Dec 09

Smalltown, Colorado

#11 Apr 23, 2013
LW1 - 18 YEARS! You've waited for him to change for 18 years?! Are you a soap dish? Try to get a life!(rant over)

Since: Mar 09

Pittsburgh, PA

#12 Apr 23, 2013
OMG, LW1's poor husband is the male equivalent of Amy's Introvert Daughter-in-Law from last week!

Is he "rude" as in "says mean things to them," or is he "rude" as in "doesn't have anything much to say!"? Sounds to me like the latter. Yeesh, don't fix him; he ain't broke!

Someone on Yahoo brought up wondering what kind of relationship he has with his own parents. If it's not so great, he may view "spending time with parents" (ANYBODY'S parents!) as "unpleasant but necessary chore."

I can't say why he keeps volunteering to go with LW1 on her visits. How far away do the parents live? Across the street or across the country? How often/how long are these visits? Perhaps he goes because he loves HER and likes spending time with HER? Is he good to her? Is their relationship good in other ways?

I remember a guy, a former coworker, who was just the meanest, rudest, nastiest SOB you could ever meet. Just miserable to work with. And one day I ran into him outside the job with his wife and kids - and he was like a whole different guy. She was a sweetheart, and he was a sweetheart to her, and their kids. Amazing! Come to think of it, Keith's coworkers probably think he's a nasty, mean SOB (because he doesn't like most of them and doesn't spend any more time with them than necessary) but he's a sweetie to us.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#13 Apr 23, 2013
animaniactoo wrote:
Question though: Is he really just like this with your parents, or is this the man you married and it only bothers you when you're in your parents' company?
Excellent question.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#14 Apr 23, 2013
LW1: "Example: If my mom asks him how his parents are doing, without looking up from his cellphone he'll grunt and say, "They're fine" -- nothing more. "

He was asked a question and he answered it. Is the cell phone what makes this rude?

"When we go out to dinner, he usually doesn't join in the conversation. Instead, he just sits there with a dismissive, bored look on his face."

Is he talkative with others? What is the conversation about? My future MIL once commented on how quiet I was and the fact is, if I had nothing to add to the conversation, I didn't. I imagine, if one does not have anything to add to a conversation, one can be pretty bored listening to it. Right now, I'm on the fence as far as him being rude. He could be just a quiet guy and it only bothers her because she expects him to put on a big show for mom and dad.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#15 Apr 23, 2013
I just dont get why the guy want to go if he is not enjoying himself. Seems like a contradiction.
Mister Tonka wrote:
LW1: "Example: If my mom asks him how his parents are doing, without looking up from his cellphone he'll grunt and say, "They're fine" -- nothing more. "
He was asked a question and he answered it. Is the cell phone what makes this rude?
"When we go out to dinner, he usually doesn't join in the conversation. Instead, he just sits there with a dismissive, bored look on his face."
Is he talkative with others? What is the conversation about? My future MIL once commented on how quiet I was and the fact is, if I had nothing to add to the conversation, I didn't. I imagine, if one does not have anything to add to a conversation, one can be pretty bored listening to it. Right now, I'm on the fence as far as him being rude. He could be just a quiet guy and it only bothers her because she expects him to put on a big show for mom and dad.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#16 Apr 23, 2013
RACE wrote:
I just dont get why the guy want to go if he is not enjoying himself. Seems like a contradiction.
<quoted text>
My husband is not the most social person around my family although he is somwhat better than LW's husband. I "drag" him to some family events ecause it would be more rude for him not to attend, for example, my mother's birthday cake and coffee.

My BIL is also quiet. For all I know he may be as grouchy about seeing my parents as my huband is but if so, he and my sister have not let on.

Sometimes I find my husband's conduct really really irritating.

OTOH he has rarely said anything pleasant about his own mother and has in recent years aded his sister to that list. His sister doesn't talk to him. He calls his mother occasionally and talks to one brother. When asked how his folks are doing, about all he can say is They are fine. Better that than the detailed recitation that I hear at home.

Anyone who demands a TV sterotype of multigenrational conversation and love is a romantic. It doesn't work that way IRL

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#17 Apr 23, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
He could be just a quiet guy and it only bothers her because she expects him to put on a big show for mom and dad.
She's not expecting him to put on a big show, but she IS expecting him to get his nose out of his phone and make an effort to feign interest, and I don't think that's too much to expect.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#18 Apr 23, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
He was asked a question and he answered it. Is the cell phone what makes this rude?
You REALLY can't understand? It's more than simply answering a question.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#19 Apr 23, 2013
apples and oranges. You force your husband, the lw"s husband asks to go. No comparison.
You husband would probably be happier if left home alone, not the LW's husband.
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>My husband is not the most social
person around my family although he is somwhat better than LW's husband. I "drag" him to some family events ecause it would be more rude for him not to attend, for example, my mother's birthday cake and coffee.
My BIL is also quiet. For all I know he may be as grouchy about seeing my parents as my huband is but if so, he and my sister have not let on.
Sometimes I find my husband's conduct really really irritating.
OTOH he has rarely said anything pleasant about his own mother and has in recent years aded his sister to that list. His sister doesn't talk to him. He calls his mother occasionally and talks to one brother. When asked how his folks are doing, about all he can say is They are fine. Better that than the detailed recitation that I hear at home.
Anyone who demands a TV sterotype of multigenrational conversation and love is a romantic. It doesn't work that way IRL

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#20 Apr 23, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
You REALLY can't understand? It's more than simply answering a question.
So go ahead and explain it, oh wise one.

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