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Go Ask Aunt Becky


Dear Aunt Becky,

Why are people, relatives at that, so damned mean?  My sister-in-law has thrown me aside like a dirty dishtowel time and again and never apologizes or explains what came over her. As she is such a mercurial person, people tend to accept her back into their life in some fashion rather than not have her at all.  This is the third time I’ve been burned and I’ve HAD IT!!!!

She’s my husband’s sister, but I don’t ever want to see or hear from her again.  I wish, in fact, that I’d never met her.  The hurt and agony I suffer every time she does this is more than I or my family want to deal with.  So Sage Aunt Becky, what do you recommend, should I kick her to the curb, or should I just call myself a sucker and sign myself up for more hurt and misery?


Ah, Prankster, how I wish we could choose our family members like we choose our friends and just be able to cut people off when they treat us like dogshit. Sadly, it doesn’t work that easily without causing major drama with people choosing sides and split up holidays and all of that boo-yang.

What I would do, Prankster, in this situation, is to accept her back into your life and trust her as far as you can throw her (and with YOUR BUM KNEE, Ed, you shouldn’t be throwing anyone)(Ferris Bueller, man, HILARIOUS). I mean that in a “put up with her when you have to and ONLY THAT MUCH” sort of way.

There’s no reason you have to be the sucker in this situation or deal with her bullshit or get suckered back into it over and over. You can smile politely, nod, grit your teeth and think to yourself “yeah, whatever, bitch” and then move on when she’s out of earshot. You do yourself no favors by being sucked back into it time and time again.

Good luck, Prankster.

Dear Aunt Becky,

This is a weird question, be warned.

I am in minimal contact with *any* of my family outside of my brother. I used to talk to my mother, 2 years ago. Before that, we’d see our extended family maybe…once every 2-3 years, if that. Pretty distant.

I got married last spring. My husband is from a *very* tight-knit family. His mom and dad are divorced, so that just means TWICE the amount of in-laws: they get together as often as possible.

I love that my husband is close to his family, but DAMN, I can’t handle spending our (rare) 3-day weekends with HIS family. It’s all we ever do when we have more than 2 days off together.

I’m just not used to such frequent trips spent gawking at cows or dominoes, when we could be at home watching movies or playing video games, or enjoying the nooks and crannies of our current town.

Also, his mother doesn’t like me and tells me in subtle comments, but that’s another question for our dear Aunt.

I’m on the verge of punching myself in the proverbial dick. I’ve tried explaining my weird family situation to the hubs, but he gets all butthurt and makes me feel weird for “not getting it.” I already feel weird about it, you know?

Halp me, Aunt Becky!

Douchey McInlaws

Oh Prankster, this situation just makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a fork except that it would do ME no good except make me blind in one eye and that wouldn’t exactly help me track down Mick Jagger and make him impregnate me. But it’s DELICATE and I’m about as good at being delicate as I am at refraining from saying “motherfucker.” SEE? It just SLIPS OUT.

So you clearly have to approach this one with DANGER WILL ROBINSON blinking all over the place because you can’t hurt your husband’s feelings about this and you’re not going to make him understand your childhood any more than you understand his (dominoes? REALLY? WEIRD!).

I’d probably tell a wee white lie if I were you. A “you know what, honey, I’d really like to spend some time with YOU this weekend because I’m so tirreeedd because work has been SO stressful.” Or maybe plan something for just the two of you at home to show him that maybe it’s time for you two to have a life together alone, too.

Clearly, it’s not going to work if it’s all his way all of the time or all your way all of the time and because marriage should actually be called “you’ll never get exactly what you want again,” maybe it’s time he learn that lesson, too. Not in a MEAN way, just a, you know, “my wife has needs too, that don’t include dominoes and my parents.”

Marriage = compromise. Marriage also = biting your tongue about your in-laws.

P.S. I don’t think ANY mother-in-laws like their daughter-in-laws. Awesome, isn’t it?

Dear Aunt Becky,

I got drunk.  I made out with my best friend’s husband, whom I might add is my husband’s best friend.  So, in one stupid night, I damaged a whole slew of relationships that have all lasted over a decade.

I told my husband right away and he has forgiven me.  I have cut off all contact between myself and his best friend.  I opted to let my friend’s husband tell her in his own time and way because (as if I’m not enough of a bitch already) she’s pregnant and no one wants to upset the pregnant lady.

She eventually found out via an e-mail between my husband and hers and called to get the story from me.  I told her all and accepted all of her anger and hurt because, well, that’s how it goes.

I have no idea how things are for her and her husband right now because I’m not speaking to him and she’s not speaking to me and my husband avoids drama like the plague.

My marriage is doing just fine and I know I should be happy for that, but here’s the thing.

Even though it’s all my fault, I still miss my best friend.  I can’t call her.  I can’t reach out to her.  And I can’t complain to my husband that I’m hurt and lonely because, well, duh.

So, Aunt Becky, will you just tell me it’s going to be okay and that you’re sorry that I lost my best friend, even if I did it to myself?

Oh Prankster, I AM sorry that you lost your best friend. It always hurts to lose someone you love, no matter what happened to cause the loss. I can tell that you feel guilty and awful about what happened–as you should–and I know you want to make it right. I wish I had any words of wisdom for you other than that you have to forgive yourself and accept that she may never forgive you and move on.

Easier said than done, I know.


As always Pranksters, please pick up where I left off in the comments.

posted under Go Ask Aunt Becky
24 Comments to

“Go Ask Aunt Becky”

  1. On June 13th, 2010 at 12:42 am Diana Says:

    Two words: CALL DISPLAY

    When My beyatch of a now (thankfully) ex SIL caused trouble for everyone at her bro’s wedding, then didn’t speak to anyone for 6 months, then called out of the blue and harassed me for 45 minutes until I literally pinched my baby to make her wake up so I could get off the phone, I got call display the next monday and never had to speak to her again. Doesn’t mean you won’t have to see her at family events but at least it keeps your home time to yourself

  2. On June 13th, 2010 at 12:38 pm Melissa Says:

    I can think of 10 get off the phone excuses off the top of my head that totally beat hurting a baby by a mile.

    Seriously? Pinching HURTS, as you know, because it made your baby cry.

    *shakes head*

  3. On June 13th, 2010 at 1:51 am Alexandra Says:

    In my old age, I have decided that I am not taking s**t from anyone. anymore. about anything.

    I’m done with it…just like Leonardo told it to Cameron in Gangs of New York. She asked, “are ye mad at me then?” he answers…
    naaah…I’m through with ye.”


  4. On June 13th, 2010 at 8:39 am Jaci @ Ravings of a Mad Housewife Says:

    I was in the dreaded “spend a bazillion hours with the in-laws” situation a few years ago. At least once a month, we’d have to drive across 2 STATES to sit in their living room and make small talk about jack shit all weekend long. Seriously? Sitting in a room with two uber uptight 70 year olds while listening to the grandfather clock tick between silences should be a recognized form of torture.

    It only ended when they moved 15 minutes away from us. You’d think that would make it worse, but it’s really much better. Would you rather spend 48 straight hours with them every month…or 20-30 minutes a couple times a week? (Plus have free, unlimited babysitting at your fingertips?)

    For the last question: You kissed your friends goodbye. Literally. I’m sorry one stupid night ruined 10 years worth of friendships. Also? You are amazing for confessing to your husband right away–no matter what the fallout was! You could have tried to handle it yourself and kept the whole thing secret and had one night spiral into a full blown affair. You may have made a stupid drunken mistake, but you did the 100% right thing the next day.

  5. On June 13th, 2010 at 8:58 am Inna Says:

    I love the motto: Nod and smile. That’s what I do at most of my own family gatherings.

  6. On June 13th, 2010 at 9:07 am DG at Diaryofamadbathroom Says:

    In laws, like wine can be wonderful and fruity with a smooth finish or befouled and rotten as an over-ripe diaper. There have been many times when I have wanted to cut a bitch over some stupid comment, stab at my parenting or other generic stupidity. But I don’t, because I like life outside of the penal system. I agree with Aunt Becky – rise above, make your own like and don’t sweat the sea hag.

  7. On June 13th, 2010 at 9:28 am mumma boo Says:

    Prankster #1: Don’t get sucked back in. Just smile and walk away. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to see her, but you can limit the interaction to “Hello” and “Goodbye”. Caller ID is a wonderful tool as Diana mentioned.

    Prankster #2: As our dear Aunt Becky said, it’s all about compromise. Can you propose going to visit every other 3-day weekend, instead of each one? You need to talk about this now before your resentment builds up any further.

    Prankster #3: Sadly, as time travel has not been invented yet, you’re going to have to live with your mistake. You did the right thing by telling your hubby right away, but his best friend was a schlub for not telling his wife, pregnant or no. She feels betrayed by both you and her hubby, and it will take a long time for her to trust again. Can you ask your hubby how they’re doing? He’s still speaking to the best friend, so get some info that way. Why can’t you reach out to her? Are you afraid to do so? The worst that could happen is that she says she never wants to see or hear from you ever again, but you’re already in exile, so what’s the harm in trying to get out? Good luck.

  8. On June 13th, 2010 at 9:43 am c8h10n4o2 Says:

    Just as an aside, there are MILs who adore their DILs, sometimes even more than their sons. When my best friend and her husband split up, her MIL was calling her a couple of times a week to check on her, but stopped talking to him for a couple of months because she was angry at him for screwing it up. She still sends her birthday cards and xmas presents 6 years later and makes it very clear that the new chick grosses her out. Publicly. Which, if you want to be an other-people’s-husband-hunting hosebeast, is exactly what you should get.

    As far as nasty family members, my family is insanely complicated, so I just don’t engage with the true malevolent crazies in my normal life, and if they’re at family gatherings I just smile, exchange pleasantries, grab another glass of wine, and go hang out in another part of the house with people I like. If they try to start something with everyone around, a puzzled smile, slight head tilt, and slow facial morph to confused bemusement is way more damaging than fighting back. They wind up looking psychotic, you just look attacked at random, and someone will bring you food and more wine. You win!

  9. On June 13th, 2010 at 9:19 am Hi, I'm Natalie. Says:

    Mick Jagger?? Are you kidding?? (I think I just vomited in my mouth a little.)

  10. On June 13th, 2010 at 10:31 am megan Says:

    Prankster #2: I totally understand your situation. I’m closer to my family than you are to yours, but not much. For a couple months I dated a guy who was, in my opinion, way too close to his family. He had two married sisters, each with three children, and the entire family got together when ANYONE had a birthday, and most other weekends besides. I was really used to being in charge of my own time, and suddenly almost every weekend was spoken for by his family. Not to mention that they weren’t really people I would have chosen to spend time with were it up to me. I tried having a conversation with him about having some weekends reserved for just us, and he ended up really hurt. He’d never even thought about not spending weekends with them. Obviously it didn’t work out for us for other reasons (his ideal future was me at home with a bunch of kids, and my ideal future had me in a career with no kids), but even if we’d been perfect for each other in every other way, this whole family thing would have been a real issue.

    I don’t have a lot of advice for you except to say that you really do need to talk to him about it and find a good compromise before you end up resenting him completely for it. Maybe he can visit them without you once in a while, and maybe you can only do 2 days from the 3-day weekends with them. He needs to be supportive of you and realize that even though he doesn’t need to turn his back on his family, he’s married to you now and that’s his priority.

  11. On June 13th, 2010 at 11:40 am Tweets that mention Go Ask Aunt Becky | Mommy Wants Vodka -- Says:

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  12. On June 13th, 2010 at 12:08 pm woo222 Says:

    Aunt Becky,

    I hope you know, your answers are awesome. Beyond awesome. These are all tricky, uber-complicated situations and you’re three for three. I wish I had your insight and wisdom, for sure 🙂 The comments from other readers are excellent too.

    I’m just going to reiterate what’s already been said can’t change your in-laws (without a costly divorce) or easily get your best pal back, but you can surround yourself with as many people who love you and support you as possible. The good peeps make dealing with the hurts and asshats SO much easier. Love you Becky!

  13. On June 13th, 2010 at 12:09 pm woo222 Says:

    wait, why’d it post that twice? What’d I do wrong? Oops. Sorry yo.

  14. On June 13th, 2010 at 11:35 am hannie Says:

    contestant one: My SIL decided to tell my husband I was having a hot affair with one of my friends while he was off in (unknown location in Middle East). What she didn’t tell him is that my friend IS gay, has a boyfriend, the kids and I spent time with them as well as my friends parents..end thing, the husband chose not to believe me. I hold my SIL to this day partially responsible for ruining my marriage over her lies (and then she wanted to sleep with my husband too!) but then again, now reading this, I think I should thank her for getting rid of the Springer show in my world. Don’t give anyone the satisfaction of allowing them to piss you off. UGH.

    contestant two: I just said that my husband’s family is like the Springer show. Oh the rich stories of backwoods hillbilly stupidity I should share in reference to them. Being as I am not from this sort of area, one, I don’t want to be there and two, I certainly do not want to spend time with the inlaws hearing how much of a loser I am for whatever reason this week. Me, I love my daughter in law. My mother in law thinks I should die. I think she should take a valium and quit being so whiny about everything. I usually feigned illness and asked to take a nap to avoid inlaws altogether. (my secret)

    contestant three: Okay listen, maybe you didn’t get the memo, but sleeping with the best friend of anyone in your world is not cool. I know you know that now and why, but keep this in mind for future reference. Time heals wounds except for I think, cheating. Of course, my husband single handedly served more women (sexually) while on duty than say, Mc Donald’s serves burgers in a day. I’m a little angry because one, he’s a whore and two, he could have at least told me way early on so I could just leave and he could whore himself to whomever his little heart desires.

    All of you, you can’t pick your family but you can pick your friends. Pick some good friends and spend time with them because apparently your family is just as Springer meets Maury show as my in laws were. No one deserves that sort of “deliverance” moment. Ever.

  15. On June 13th, 2010 at 12:48 pm Melissa Says:

    Aunt Becky gave great advice on all of it! Family, you have to deal with. You cant pick your family and you are stuck with them.

    Prankster #3 I really do feel sorry for you.. I have kissed while drunk too, and dont even know if they were married or not. Wait it out, write letters. APOLOGIZE until she gets it. You may not get her back, but do everything you can. I assume the make out didnt involve penis, so it can heal with time.

  16. On June 13th, 2010 at 3:27 pm mommytobnp Says:

    Prankster #3… in my opinion, doing that while drunk is (1) just an excuse and (b) even worse than doing it while sober – why you may ask… because you clearly got to “that point” of lacking all self-control… you made your proverbial bed, now you have to lay in it. At least for your sake, your husband has forgiven you. Maybe with time, your best friend will as well.

  17. On June 13th, 2010 at 4:26 pm mrs ellenoy Says:

    Cows + dominoes = Texas

  18. On June 13th, 2010 at 3:32 pm SciFi Dad Says:

    You can’t make your inlaws like you. You can’t even make them respect you. All you can do is refuse to accept their treatment. Or kill them.

  19. On June 13th, 2010 at 5:09 pm Andygirl Says:

    I have a little advice for Prankster #3. I have been on the other side of this equation: be patient.

    My best friend slept with my boyfriend. And I was hurt that she’d chosen a drunken night of sex over our 10 year friendship. And I cried and I screamed and I called her a slut. And I broke off our friendship. But you know what? I missed her after that. I mourned our friendship. It was awful. But she gave me my space, because that’s what she owed me. About a year later, she sent me a letter (a real, live, physical letter) that was the best, most honest, most humble apology she could ever offer. I cried. I called her and we went to lunch and over time we healed our friendship. I was in her wedding the next year and 6 years later, we’re as close as ever.

    So just be patient. Give her space. I promise that she misses you too, but she doesn’t owe you anything. Give her time and if you two are meant to be friends again, you will.

  20. On June 13th, 2010 at 10:08 pm Jami Says:

    Prankster 2: I was the one that had to do something with my family every weekend. My attachment to my family has caused problems with my relationship. You need to get your husband to understand he has a new family now. The best way to do this is flattery. Try to make him understand that you want to spend time with him not that you don’t want to spend time with them. Make it all about how you love him and want to build your relationship together. If he gets mad about you not wanting to spend time with them, give him the “why are you mad that I want to spend alone time with you? I love you and love spending time with just you.” I wish I had listened to my boyfriend when he was telling me this. I would be in a lot better place right now. Good luck!

  21. On June 14th, 2010 at 1:08 pm Fake Name Says:

    Prankster #3 – I just had to write. I am you, only no one knows about it. I have kissed my boyfriend’s best friend more than once. I have known him for six years but all the sudden we seem to have a weird attraction to each other. It only comes out while drinking for the most part. I am terrified of happening to me exactly what has happened to you. And not only losing my BF but ruining a fifteen year friendship between them as well. Every time it happens (which is only about three or four times over the course of nearly two years) I swear it will be the last. I know I just need to avoid situations where he is there if possible. I am also close with his girlfriend and she even had a conversation with me about how worried she was about him cheating on her.

    It’s never gone further than a kiss and I don’t intend for it to ever happen again or ever go further. I just wanted to tell you I sympathize with you because I know how much you regret what happened. I hope you and your friend someday make amends. I would write her a letter, without excuses (and it doesn’t seem like you are making any) and hopefully one day she will forgive you. In the meantime, hang in there.

  22. On June 14th, 2010 at 4:22 pm Vee Says:


    I am very close to my family. We get together as often as possible. We would totally annoy you. I’ve been married to my husband for ten years. He was not close to his family and he reluctantly came along to my family functions. Over time, I noticed that he was angry and withdrawn before my family events. It took me a while to figure out that he wasn’t into it. So, I did the best thing I could do. I gave him the choice to join us. He always had the choice, but he didn’t feel like he could exercise the option and he just put up with it because he loved me.

    He doesn’t always join me and I have more fun with my family because I don’t have an anchor weighing me down. He actually visits HIS family and when he comes with me to family functions he’s in a better mood and actually has fun. So, my advice is that maybe you need to let him know that you won’t stand in the way of his family time but that you don’t have to join him. He may be ass hurt and he will get bombarded with “Is everything ok with you guys?” But your marriage will survive another day and another month and another year if you’re able to do what you want to do even if it means not doing it together.

    In the last couple of years, I’ve actually turned down family events to spend the time with my husband. It’s been awesome.

  23. On June 14th, 2010 at 10:52 pm Julia Says:

    Reading an amazing book that I think writer 3 should read, plus maybe send a copy anonymously to her betrayed friend: When Good People Have Affairs, by Mira Kirshenbaum. Amazing read and really helps clarify this kind of situation.

    I was in her friend’s place – my best friend made out with my boyfriend (who was a manwhore but I was in denial) on my birthday while I was stuck at work. She admitted it the next day. I tried to forgive them but the betrayal was too much for me, and after a few months I cut them both out of my life and moved on. It was an unhealthy codependent relationship in both cases, so I’m glad I did, but I can see that a healthy friendship could possibly get past that…

  24. On June 15th, 2010 at 9:27 am igster101 Says:

    I got really lucky. My mom and wife get along really well.

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