Ask Amy: Mother-in-law’s e-mail not so innocent

May 30, 2012

DEAR AMY: Years ago, after one of my husband’s co-workers began to forward pornographic e-mails to my husband, we had a discussion about pornography and pictures of naked women.

Because it bothers me, my husband asked his friend to stop these e-mails, which he did.

My mother-in-law is one of those people who constantly forwards junk e-mails to my husband, as well as to tons of other people. She recently forwarded an e-mail containing motorcycle pictures. Each of the motorcycles had a naked woman next to it.

When we told my mother-in-law that this was a completely inappropriate e-mail to send to my husband, she claimed that she hadn’t even thought about the fact that it contained naked women, she just thought that my husband would like to see the motorcycles.

However, as I pointed out, she had only sent it to my husband and his uncle. Usually her forwards go out to tons of people. And as I pointed out, she hadn’t sent it to her son-in-law, which tells me that she respects her daughter’s marriage but not mine.

I find her behavior and the fact that she is claiming it was an innocent e-mail (if it was so innocent, then why didn’t she e-mail it to more people?) despicable and disrespectful of me and my marriage. What are your thoughts on this? -- Furious Wife

DEAR WIFE: My reaction is that your mother-in-law has really figured out how to get your goat.

This e-mail was sent to your husband (not to you). You have most likely correctly identified what she is doing and why. Your husband has bowed to your sensitivities in the past by successfully drawing a boundary. He should do so again.

The less involvement and personal reaction you have, the better.

DEAR AMY: I lost touch with a very good friend from high school and have been trying to locate her for seven years. I’ve searched the Internet, asked mutual friends and even contacted her parents via mail but never received a response.

I also left a phone message at her parents’ home. I know the phone number was good because their names and voices were on the outgoing message.

It seems that there is a lot more going on and that they are deliberately trying to keep their daughter “hidden.” It just seems odd. They knew me from elementary school until we graduated.

I would think that if their daughter didn’t want to get in touch they could at least acknowledge my letter and let me know that she’s not interested in getting back in touch. We didn’t leave on bad terms; we just grew apart.

I really miss her, but I can’t get a response (much less find her), and the not knowing what happened to her is driving me crazy.

Should I give up? Has too much time passed? Should I just accept that she doesn’t want to get in contact? Or should I keep reaching out in hopes she will eventually contact me back? -- Missing My Old Friend

DEAR MISSING: I suggest you stop before somebody gets a constable involved. You have tried every reasonable means possible to contact this person from your past.

Aside from hopping onto Facebook to see if she has an account (you don’t mention doing this), you should take all of this nonresponse from family and mutual friends to mean that she does not want to be in touch.

You should accept and respect this lack of contact for what it is — a mystery — and move on.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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