DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Vinny,” and I were married 11 years when he left me for another woman. Eight months later he decided the grass wasn’t greener on that side of the fence and came back. Our marriage is better now than it was before the affair.
Seven months later his younger brother “Nicky” got divorced and moved in with us. A short while after that, Vinny and Nicky joined a band.
It has been a year now, and my brother-in-law is still here. I am more than ready for him to move out, but every time I mention it, Vinny says Nicky has “just” gone through a divorce and “we’re all he has.”
I hate all the time Vinny devotes to the band. I try not to complain because I know how much he enjoys it, but I’m miserable. They practice in our basement on Mondays and Wednesdays, and every Friday and Saturday night is spent performing.
I have no privacy! How do I get Nicky out of here? Should I push the issue with the band or let it go? My parents are furious with Vinny. They say he’s reliving his childhood, Nicky is taking advantage and Vinny is taking me for granted. Can you offer some advice? — Hurting in New York
DEAR HURTING: Your brother-in-law should have been out of your house a month after he moved in. Tell Vinny you’ve had it with this experiment in communal living, set an exit date for Nicky and stick to it. If your husband refuses to listen to reason, then he is sending you a strong message that your wishes are not important.
As for Vinny’s participation in the band, he and the other band members must be talented, or they wouldn’t be booked every Friday and Saturday night. Look at the bright side: When they’re rehearsing in your basement, at least you know where your husband is and what he’s doing. Marriage is a compromise, so learn to enjoy the music, but cultivate interests and hobbies of your own.
And last but not least, stop involving your parents in your problems. You’re a big girl now. If you don’t tell all, they’ll have fewer negative feelings about your husband.
Daughter failed on thank-you cards
DEAR ABBY: My 19-year-old daughter was married last year. We gave her a formal church wedding. Of the 100 guests invited, several were longtime co-workers, who took the time to purchase lovely gifts and travel two hours to the wedding. Some also gave cash gifts.
My daughter still hasn’t sent out thank-you cards. I see my co-workers week after week, and I’m humiliated. I have mentioned it to my daughter several times, but she says it’s too late to send them now. Abby, we raised her better than this. Every time I say anything about it, she gives me an argument.
Please help. This eats away at me every day. Should I take the reins and send a short letter of apology to these dear co-workers? — Torn Up in Texas
DEAR TORN UP: A note of apology from you would ease the embarrassment you feel facing your co-workers, but it won’t put your daughter in a better light.
All you can do is remind her that a woman old enough to marry should be mature enough to write thank-you notes. And no law says her husband can’t pitch in and help. They are equally responsible, and failure to acknowledge any gift reflects poorly on them both.