Dear Abby: I recently posted on Facebook about how I never get any recognition from my only son on my birthday, Mother’s Day or any holiday. My daughter-in-law then responded that I care more about my dogs than my grandchildren. I live in Florida; they live in Kansas. Last year, I offered to fly the girls to Florida for a visit but was told no. I have asked that they come for a visit, but no visits have happened.
I live alone and have five rescue dogs, three rescue cats and foster abandoned kittens. In order for me to visit them, I would have to pay for airfare, parking and a pet sitter, and would need a family member to pick me up and usher me around. I responded that if they wanted to pick up the tab, I would be happy to visit.
They claim I do “nothing” to be a grandmother to their girls. Abby, I started a 529 college fund for them years ago. When I asked what they want me to do, I received no response. At this point, I’m considering changing my will and the beneficiary of my life insurance. When I asked again about what they wanted, she said she needed time. It’s been weeks. What now?
— Not Measuring Up
Dear Not Measuring Up: Not knowing your son and daughter-in-law’s financial situation, I can only suspect that the reason they haven’t taken you up on your invitation to visit is that they can’t afford airfare for four and think you can better afford to do the traveling. It is a shame you had to publicize on Facebook the fact that you have such a distant relationship with them, rather than pick up a phone and discuss it privately.
I’m not sure what you expect your daughter-in-law to do at this point. (Offer to pay for some or all of your expenses?) Your money is, of course, yours to do with as you wish after your death. But wouldn’t it be better spent cementing a relationship with your family while you’re alive than using it to punish them after you are gone? There are alternative ways to “visit” virtually, to stay in touch and show an interest in your grandkids. More and more people do it these days, and it isn’t difficult.
Dear Abby: I’ve been married 30 years to a man who is a good person in every way except one. He lies to me. It’s mostly about inconsequential things, but over the past six months, his lies or omissions have rocked the foundations of our marriage. He does it typically to cover up behavior he’s ashamed of.
He has promised to be more truthful and transparent, but recently I caught him lying about something I saw with my own eyes. When I called him on it, he admitted the truth. Each time, he swears he will do better. Is he a pathological liar? I feel like I’m at the end of my rope, but I hate to throw away 30 years of marriage and maybe many more if it’s something that can be addressed. Please help.
— Sick of Lies in Massachusetts
Dear Sick: It appears the man you are married to is a compulsive liar. By now it must be clear to both of you that unless he’s willing to work on his inability to tell the truth and seek help from a mental health professional, nothing will change. If you are serious about “throwing away 30 years of marriage,” offer him that option before consulting a lawyer.
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 DearAbby.com.