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Daughter-in-law passing judgment over son’s origin

Dear Annie: I raised my son, who is now 41, as a single mom. I am 75. My son and I have always been very close. Ten years ago, he married a very intelligent woman, and now I have two beautiful grandchildren.

I was getting along well with everyone, but now my life is so depressing because my daughter-in-law hates me. She is angry with me and thinks I’m a horrible person because my son was conceived during a one-night stand while on vacation, and I didn’t remember the man’s name or any details about him.

Two years ago, my son found his father through DNA tests, and it turned out to be so wonderful. They now love each other. My son is so happy, but his wife still hates me.

I do their housework and more, and I just ignore her to avoid confrontation. I’m now not allowed to visit there, as I ruined one of her sweaters when doing the laundry. I offered to replace it, but she said NO.

I’m so depressed because I miss my family and the pandemic has kept me isolated. My son has to agree with her to keep the peace. At this point, my health is being affected. What should I do? — Feeling Very Lonely

Dear Lonely: Your daughter-in-law sounds entitled, judgmental and cruel. She is bullying you for a choice made four decades ago — that resulted in her meeting her future husband! Given that your son picked her and she is the mother of your grandchildren, you should find a way to make it work. That doesn’t mean being a doormat, either. Speak with your son to try and better understand why you are not allowed over. Tell him just what you told me — that you are lonely because of the pandemic and miss them so much. Also, know that you are not alone; many people feel depressed after a year of isolation.

You raised your son without any support whatsoever. The goal is harmonious family relations, but your son, and his father, should stick up for you. I hope they do. Good luck — and keep us posted.

Dear Annie: I’m the type of person who minds their own business and tries to live peacefully with everyone. I expect people to respond accordingly. However, very often I seem to get the opposite in return.

For example, I was confiding in my sister about my health and finances. She told our other siblings. I was very annoyed and have hard feelings toward her because I thought we had an understanding that our conversation was private. She should have known this without me telling her. I mean, if I wanted our entire family to know my business, I would have done a group chat.

How do I adjust my expectations of dealing with my family to be more realistic? If that’s what’s wrong. … I honestly just don’t know what to do moving forward to avoid hard feelings. — Hard Feelings

Dear Hard Feelings: Saying, “She should have known this without me telling her,” is exactly where the communication broke down. Next time you confide in someone — even your sister — explicitly say that you want that person to keep the information to themselves. Family can be an important resource to lean on if you are going through a tough time. My guess is your sister’s spilling the beans to your other siblings came more from her feelings of love and concern for you, rather than a malicious intent to gossip.

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“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette – is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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