Dear Blake,

My husband and I have been together since we were 21, and he has always had a distant relationship with his parents. I encouraged him during the first few years of our marriage to call them and visit. I stopped doing that after his mom and I had some choice words.

If he wants a relationship with them, that is up to him. The problem is, when she tries to call and text with typically no response from him, she reaches out to me. We have two daughters, so I don’t mind sharing with her how they are doing. What I object to is her occasionally asking me to pass on messages to my husband. I’m a working mom of two, and I don’t have time to be anyone else’s secretary. The icing on the cake came when she informed me that the family dog they’d had for 15 years passed away and asked me to tell him. I told her what time he could be reached, but instead of taking my suggestion, she asked me again. I ended up telling him.

It wasn’t my responsibility to do that, and I’m irritated with myself that I can’t be frank about how she and his dad need to contact their son. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Signed, Jeannie
From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Dear Jeannie,

I agree that you should not be the messenger in a family feud. But seeing you have been thrusted into that unenviable position, you should distort all of her messages, until she refuses to give you anything to relay knowing it will be maliciously translated. Here are some examples. If she says her husband bought a new suit, tell your husband that his mother found out that his dad is a cross dresser, and he applied for a credit card at Lane Bryant. If she says she recently got a speeding ticket, inform your husband that his mother was in a high speed chase. And luckily, she tossed out of the window several bags of cocaine before the cops stopped her, so she’ll only be charged with reckless driving. If his mother tells you about some store sales, let your husband know that his mom gave you tips on the best way to shoplift, along with how to safely disarm a security guard. Finally, this idea. Do whatever it takes to get your husband and his parents in the same room. And then verbally and viciously go after all three of them, without mercy. Call them every offensive name you can think of, and when you’re done, watch how the three of them bond and unite… against you. The good news, his parents and your husband will start talking again. However the bad news is, your husband will only communicate with you through his divorce attorney. I hope this helps.

Blake

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