She wants separation of work and family

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: My father and my father-in-law are in related professional fields. From time to time, my father has contacted my father-in-law, as well as others in my husband's family, to try to make business contacts or team up on a project.

Even though my father's requests are always kindly refused, this makes me very uncomfortable. I don't want bad feelings over business, money or reputation to interfere with an otherwise loving set of relationships. My father does not generally have much contact with my in-laws, and I feel like it is selfish of him to exploit my relationship with them. When I declined to put him in touch with one of them recently, he was very offended. He insisted that his behavior was completely acceptable because he wouldn't directly profit from it. Amy, do you think I am being unreasonable? Or should he respect my preference for keeping work and family separate?Daughter-in-Law, Not LinkedIn

DEAR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: You are not being unreasonable. But more than "protecting" your in-laws from your father's schemes, what you are really trying to do is to spare yourself the discomfort and embarrassment his contact causes you.

You have tried mightily to keep the personal/business firewall in place, and your father simply dons his fireproof business suit and charges on through.

I suggest you step back and let both parties manage this themselves. Your in-laws have graciously and respectfully handled your father's business ideas; unless they ask you to intervene, you should assume they understand what is going on and will find a way to build a better wall.

Most families have at least one member who is at least a little embarrassing. Your burden is to tolerate the feelings your father's behavior causes in you and not make excuses for him to other people.