My husband and I have been married for 18 months. "Glenda," his ex-wife, is manipulative and just plain mean. She lied in court (well-coached by her high-priced lawyer) and said some terrible things about my husband to get custody of their daughter. I can't stand the sight of her.
The problem is, my husband's parents insist on maintaining a close relationship with Glenda. They say it is necessary because she is the mother of their only grandchild. When my in-laws moved to Florida several months ago, I hoped their relationship with Glenda would wind down, but I recently learned that she is spending her vacation in their home.
My husband and I are devastated. He feels his parents love his ex-wife more than they love him. I'm afraid, Ann, that I never will be accepted as their daughter-in-law because I didn't give birth to their first grandchild. We have written to his parents telling them how hurt and betrayed we feel. Our letter has gone unanswered. What should we do now?
Anonymous in Lynwood, Ill.
Now, you accept the fact that your husband's parents are going to remain forever connected to his ex-wife because (1) they wish to remain close to their only grandchild, and (2) they like her.
Time might make you more acceptable to them, but don't push it. Bear in mind that Glenda has the inside track with her ex-in-laws, and that will never change. And for heaven's sake, stop telling them you feel "betrayed." Putting them on the defensive will only widen the breach. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Try it.
Like most grandparents, I love my grandchildren very much, and want to see them develop into responsible adults. Recently, I noticed my oldest granddaughter, age 15, had a hole pierced at the top of her ear. The traditional lower-lobe pierce doesn't bother me, but I was taken aback when I saw the piercing at the top of her ear.
I expressed my displeasure to my wife, and told her I felt it was my duty as a grandfather to express my disapproval. My wife said it was none of my business and criticism would only sour our relationship. Days later, I approached my granddaughter, and told her if our Creator had intended for us to have extra holes in our bodies to hang things from, He would have provided them. I also voiced my objection to tattoos, and asked her to promise me that she would never get one. She thought for a few seconds, and made no commitment.
Soon after this, she told her mother about our conversation. Her mother was upset, and informed me that it was not "my place" to tell my granddaughter what to do. I replied that as her grandfather and the family patriarch, it was part of my responsibility to help guide the generation that I helped create.
I would be interested in your opinion. Am I wrong?
River Grove, Ill.
It is the parents' place to insist that their children treat you with respect. This does not mean, however, that you should be telling them how many holes they should have in their ears.
Ear-piercing is a fad, and those holes will eventually grow together. Cool it with the comments, Gramps, and find something to admire about the grandkids. They will appreciate your praise, and try to live up to your high opinion of them.
P.S.: A letter just crossed my desk from a girl in Ohio who has 33 piercings in various parts of her anatomy, and she says, "I'm not through yet." So far, I have heard nothing from her grandfather.
To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.