Doctor Love: Left Out

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Readers, email your question to [email protected]. Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love
I am twenty-six years old and have been married to my husband for five years. I have always been close to his mother and she is affectionate and loving towards me. His twenty-year-old brother still lives at home and he recently became engaged to a girl. Now, I have suddenly become invisible. My mother-in-law has become her best friend, gushing over her cute little figure and her beautiful smile. She is always complimenting her on everything from her healthy, long hair to her singing voice and artistic talents. I am pretty but I realize that she is gorgeous and much thinner than me, and comments about her figure make me feel old and unattractive. They see each other every day, go for walks and shop for their groceries together. I am completely left out. I don’t want to be jealous of this girl and try to be friends with her but I used to be the favorite and now I am second best. How can I make my mother-in-law see that I still need her love and support and shouldn’t be put aside for the new girl?
/s/Left Out

Dear Left Out;
Nothing they do together has any bearing on your relationship with your mother-in-law, so you don’t need to discuss her behavior because she is not doing anything wrong. She is warmly inviting a stranger into the family and she would likely be very surprised to know your feelings about it.
Comments on her figure, her hair and talents make you feel jealous but they have nothing at all to do with your feelings about your appearance or abilities. You can go to the gym and improve your body. You can take up rival hobbies and look for compliments on your achievements. You can push into the time they spend together and make your mother-in-law acknowledge you. Or you can stop comparing the two relationships and work to develop your own friendship with a girl who may become your sister-in-law. Look beyond what makes you jealous and you will find there is more to her to love than dislike. You should be thanking your mother-in-law because she opened her arms to you and gave you all the love and support you needed when you joined her family and understand that she has not taken that away from you. She is simply sharing that love with the next person who needs it. Generally speaking, when one person has a problem with another, it starts and stops with the one who has the problem. And yours starts and should stop within you.


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