Dear Abby: I am having trouble dealing with my wife’s extended family, who are mostly evangelicals. My family isn’t overly religious and some are atheists. Her family doesn’t think twice about asking me if I have a relationship with God, and have even declared that they are praying for me and my children. I chafe at these comments because I feel they do not respect our religious beliefs, as I do theirs.
This has been going on for all of the 40 years we’ve been married, and I’m ready to disassociate from them altogether. I do not want to be negative about their beliefs, but I should be entitled to mutual respect. Can you help, please? — Losing patience in California
Dear Losing: I can try. One of the tenets of the faith of evangelicals is evangelizing — in other words, spreading the word about their beliefs. They feel that by doing this they are following their religion. When you are asked whether you have a relationship with God, your response should be that your relationship with God is as close as you need it to be, thank you — and please do not ask again.
When they tell you they are praying for you and your children, say thank you again. A little prayer on our behalf hurts no one, and may make them feel better about their own lives. Limit your exposure if you must, but shunning your in-laws isn’t the answer if your wife wants to maintain a relationship with them.
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Dear Abby: My ex-husband had an affair with a woman named “Lily” that lasted for the entire year we were separated. Although we tried to work on things, he continued to sleep with both of us. I got PTSD because of how bad it messed with my head. I wanted to keep my family together, but I was tired of being hurt.
When I finally let go, so did Lily. She got engaged not long after meeting her new boyfriend, but she and my ex still slept together. He had four relationships after her and kept trying to pursue me, but I didn’t give him any more chances and met my now-husband.
After cheating in their subsequent relationships, my ex and Lily got back together. (She moved in because her fiance kicked her out.) Eight months later they are now engaged. I don’t feel safe with my son around them because they are so toxic. Am I wrong for wishing they would separate again and both stay out of my life? It’s affecting me emotionally again, as well as making it hard for me to love. — Almost destroyed in Illinois
Dear Almost destroyed: You are spending too much time focused on your ex and his fiancee. They are birds of a feather and meant for each other. Because you are unable to eliminate your ex from your life — I presume because of the child you share — and the stress is affecting your mental health, it’s time to consult a licensed mental health professional for help in insulating yourself from this toxic twosome.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, California 90069.