Dear Amy: I recently got married to my amazing wife and I was so excited to join her family.
It turns out that I am very close friends with his sister and I also adore his parents.
It has been a wonderful experience meeting my “new family”, but there is one thing that really irritates me: They have a “family text” chat where all the siblings and parents text each other, with constant updates.
They all live in cities across the US, so I understand why this is a useful tool for keeping in touch, but keep going. without scales daily.
Now I am also part of this chat and it drives me crazy.
I have started to completely ignore all the text messages that I receive through this chat, but it makes me feel rude and I can say that the other members of the family have noticed that I was distancing myself.
I have not experienced anything like this in my own past.
How can I escape this daily ping without appearing insensitive or disinterested in their lives?
Batty Over Jokes
Dear Batty, It is healthy, and I think preferable, for a father-in-law to assume an attitude of friendly reserve towards the daily antics of such a close and connected clan. This would translate to leaving, muting, or asking someone to remove you from group chat before this completely takes you around the corner.
Being “disinterested” is different from being “disinterested.” To be disinterested is to be reserved and impartial. Not being interested is not caring.
I suggest you disinterest before this irritates you so much that you lose interest.
Then you can pursue these friendships and relationships in your own way and in your time.
When I married a very large clan, I asked to be removed from mass family communications early on, and I suppose everyone is glad we did.
Dear Amy: My mother died last year, during the worst of the pandemic.
My sister asked me to come to our hometown to help clean Mom’s house and to stay for the funeral.
This would have involved taking time off from work, flying, staying in a hotel, and interacting with strangers, all several states away.
My husband has respiratory problems and I did not want to take the risk, so I said no. I also mentioned that most of Mom’s friends are elderly and having a service would put them at risk.
My sister didn’t want to hear that and accused me of being selfish and lazy and leaving all the work to her. He said he was only thinking about the money from the sale of Mom’s house. Needless to say, we haven’t spoken since.
Fast forward to this year. My sister is (once again) planning a funeral.
I could fly, stay for duty, and come home the next day, but that would mean interacting with my sister.
We have never gotten along and I don’t see what this will do.
Should I stay or should I go?
Dear Homeless: You and your sister are not talking, but you heard about their plans to hold a service for your mother. Maybe there are ways to communicate (through other people or through social media) without actually talking to each other.
Given the way this seems to be unfolding, if you don’t go, your sister will continue to reschedule your mother’s funeral until you actually get there.
Unless you sincerely believe that attending would pose an undue health risk to you and / or your spouse (check CDC.gov for current COVID updates), you should go. Why? Because she’s your mother, and it’s time for her to rest.
I hope that you and your sister can also clarify your differences.
By your own account, you offered no physical or emotional support to your sister after your mother’s death.
You have to ask yourself if there are things that both of you could have done differently, and then you have to promise to do those things differently during your 24 hours at home.
Dear Amy: The letter from “hurt mom” it certainly brought back some painful memories. She was concerned about her husband’s overprotective and intrusive upbringing of her daughter (he reads her email routinely).
My mother was like that! And just as they predicted, this interference and interference delayed my own problem solving skills. I was a mess until I broke free.
Free estimate: Turns out your mother was the problem you had to solve.
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.