Annie's Mailbox for May 24, 2011: Can't find a way to like son-in-law

Dear Annie: My daughter recently married and had a baby. The problem is my son-in-law. I have tried to like him, but it's hard. He is in the military in another state, and my daughter lives at home in order to finish college. It was his idea to save money by having her live here instead of renting an apartment.

When the baby was born, my son-in-law was very affectionate with his child. After six weeks, however, he changed and wouldn't hold the baby anymore. Then he stopped coming by and wouldn't even call my daughter to see how she was doing. Eventually, he asked for a separation, blaming my daughter for their problems.

My daughter decided to visit him and left the baby with me. They reconciled, and she called to say they were going to take their child and leave town together. Fine. But my daughter drove her husband back to base and arrived here in the middle of the night. She then left immediately with the baby.

I was angry. Why didn't her husband tell her to spend the night instead of waking the baby and risking their lives by driving when she was so tired? I know I shouldn't have, but I told him off in a text message. I couldn't help myself. I said he was inconsiderate. He told me to mind my own business. Then he told my daughter that I was the problem in their marriage. The next thing I know, he posted our argument on Facebook and had some choice words for me. Was I wrong?

— Desperate in Texas

Dear Desperate: Parents should avoid getting too involved in their child's marital issues. If you didn't want your daughter driving late at night, you should have discussed it with her instead of getting into a fight with your son-in-law. But it doesn't surprise us that he broadcast your argument on Facebook. Sharing such private, nasty details with the world is a sign of immaturity. Still, for your daughter's sake, please work on improving your relationship with her husband.

Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married eight years, and we each have grown children from our previous marriages. We moved to a rural area where hotel accommodations are few.

My wife thinks it's perfectly OK for her son to bring his girlfriend and stay for a week. She does the same with her brother and every other relative. We live close to her elderly parents, so they travel to see them. Unfortunately, their house is small and overheated, so everyone wants to stay with us. My wife even headed a family reunion with 35 people who stayed in campers but used our house to shower.

I wouldn't mind one couple staying a night or two, but my wife can't say no. She thinks I'm antisocial and says opening the door to friends and relatives, without boundaries, is natural and loving. We can't seem to reach a compromise. Please help.

— Antisocial Husband in Spokane, Wash.

Dear Husband: Your wife is a generous soul. Hosting the relatives makes her happy. The compromise is for her to do it less often than she wants, but more often than you'd like. Try to work on that. Your other option is to vacate the premises when she has guests so they cannot irritate you quite so much.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Talks Too Much." I find myself with the same problem — only I'm the one who talks too much.

I am single and live in New York, and the rest of my family lives in Virginia. Most of our correspondence is by e-mail. At 90, I don't get around much, and there are weeks when I don't talk to anyone. I started losing my voice since it was so rarely used. What's embarrassing is that when I meet up with friends, I find I can't stop talking. Fortunately, I realize this and can control it. Being lonely brings on many unimaginable problems.

— EM

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