Doctor Love: Stepsons and Mother-in-laws

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Readers, please send your letters. They can be emails, formal letters or handwritten notes. They are edited solely for grammar and spelling. Also, they are sometimes edited for length.Dr-Love

Dear Doctor Love,
A year ago I met a woman that I fell head over toes for. We decided we are getting married so we moved in together and we get along great but there is a problem. The problem is her son. She has two boys; one is nine years old and the other is thirteen. The nine year-old and I get along well together but the thirteen year-old is a problem. He won’t even talk to me and he always causes problems when the family goes out somewhere. Is this going to be a deal breaker for me? Can I do anything?
/s/ Substitute

Dear Sub,
The first thing the boy has to know is that you are not getting the affection from his mother that he thinks he deserves. The second is that he needs to know that you are not replacing his father. His mother should be extra careful to show him as much or more affection as she shows you. The two of you should sit down with him and explain that you will never replace his father. You are there only to be a friend if he needs one. If you can make that behavior consistent for a while he should come around. If he continues to act out, try to get some counseling for him.

Dear Doctor Love,
My husband and I have been married for twelve years. From the beginning I made it a point to spend at least half a day with my mother-in-law every week. I did this because of my husband’s work schedule which makes it difficult for him to see her three weeks out of the month.
I really get along well with her and we always have. The problem is that this woman can talk like no one I have ever met. We usually spend about two or three hours together and in that time it is hard for me to get a word in edgewise. The older she gets, the worse the problem is. It can be truly annoying. Can you offer any help?
/s/ The Silent Lamb

Dear Lamb,
No. Not without being unkind and that is what you would have to do. You are probably her lifeline to your part of the family and maybe even to the outside world. She probably thinks she is sharing pearls of information that you need and would be surprised that you think it annoying. For right now, endure it and hope you don’t end up the same way.

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