Dear Carolyn: My husband lost his father in 2015 and his mother in early 2017. He has two sisters, both local with families, and he loves them both but has never been good at keeping in touch with them except as absolutely necessary.
Last year (without my mother-in-law) was the first time we did not see any of them even once for holidays, and I realized it's because even though both sisters reached out to try to make plans, my husband never quite committed or passed along the information to me. It used to be that his mother would communicate with all of them, making sure family plans were made and held to.
I'm wondering how to step into a new role among my in-laws so that my husband's laziness in this department doesn't cost us precious time with the rest of the family. Is it appropriate for me to ask his sisters to start communicating with me directly if they want to make plans? I don't even have either of their phone numbers. We have always communicated through my late mother-in-law.
Maryland: If you want to take on this role, then yes, ask the sisters to communicate through you — after running it by your husband first, of course. Just ask him for the sisters’ phone numbers and say why.
If he says he doesn’t want you to take this on, then be sure to ask him why. It could be anything from not wanting to stay close to wishfully thinking he’ll actually do it himself, and your response will have to change accordingly to reflect what he feels. Good luck.
Dear Carolyn: Close friends and family to know why my five-year relationship just ended, as my partner and I were living together and actively making plans to get married and start a family. "We just outgrew each other and are happier apart" suffices for some who ask, but not the ones who know us really well.
Can you clarify why I should not tell people that my partner was a lowlife and a thief who stole thousands of dollars from me within six months — a fact I have so far kept to myself in an attempt to be fair to him?
Disclosure: What about the truth is unfair? Is there some question about his guilt?
Did he commit a crime for which he can be prosecuted?
If you just don’t want to get into it with anyone, then feel free to tell the people who knew you well that he turned out to be a really bad guy and you’re not ready to talk about it. That’s your prerogative — to protect you, not your ex.
Re: Lowlife and Thief: I once dated a very nice woman whose kids were extremely upset that she had divorced their father. Finally, she told them he had been pocketing the payments from his insurance clients and also had embezzled $70,000 of her inheritance. It was a tough, tough moment, she said, but they stopped being upset with her.
The person who broke up should indeed let her friends know more or less what happened.
Anonymous: Is it useful, is it fair? This disclosure checks both boxes. Thanks.