Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are expecting our first child this year. I moved to the United States a few years ago to be with him. His family is mostly absent from our lives. I have tried to make an effort with my in-laws, but it’s always met with failure. They make excuses, so we have come to accept that we see them only during holidays. It has put a strain on our marriage.

Now that I’m pregnant, and this is her first grandchild, I thought my MIL might like to spend more time together. Unfortunately, the joke is on me because she’s now criticizing me for taking time off work because morning sickness was tough on me. She has made hurtful comments to my husband that have now caused him to treat me with little respect or compassion. I am depressed and wonder if I made a mistake by marrying him and getting pregnant. It takes a village to raise children, and we do not have a village behind us. It sometimes feels like my husband isn’t behind me, either. What do I do? — EXPECTING IN INDIANA
DEAR EXPECTING: Sit your husband down and tell him you need him to stand beside you — and stand up for you — in the months ahead. When you do, you will see exactly the kind of person you married. You can’t control your in-laws, so accept that they will likely not be a large part of your lives. (If they are as you have portrayed them, that could be a blessing.) Make friends with other new and expectant mothers who may be a source of emotional and practical support in the adventure upon which you are embarking. Remind yourself that you are capable and you will get through this, as you will with other challenges life presents to you. You may think right now that you won’t be able to handle a new baby without the help of your family or your in-laws, but you may find out you are a lot stronger than you think.
DEAR ABBY: Is there a rule of etiquette for changing seats in a bar setting? I enjoy going out to eat occasionally and, when I do, I like to sit at the bar and eat while having a drink. It seems lately, more often than not, I’m asked to move down a seat or two to accommodate another two or three people. Depending on my mood, I may or may not do it. Since this happens to me quite frequently, I am declining more and more often. Either way, I think it’s rude to ask a stranger to move just so the other party can have enough seats. By the way, I have moved out of courtesy if I am not eating, but to ask me to move while I’m eating is unacceptable. Your thoughts? — IN PLACE IN KENTUCKY
DEAR IN PLACE: I realize that some people may not agree, but I don’t regard politely asking someone to move down a couple of stools at a bar as an unforgivable intrusion. The gracious response to that request would be to accommodate the larger party, as long as you are not required to move away from the bar. I would have no problem doing it.
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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