DEAR AMY: A few months ago my father passed away unexpectedly, and when it came time for the funeral, my father-in-law asked my husband if it was OK if he and his girlfriend skipped the service because they had plans to go away with friends. He was "pouty" about having to attend my father's funeral and my husband reluctantly said he didn't have to go. When I found out, I was crushed and angry that my father-in-law would have so little respect and empathy for me and my family. My husband agreed that he shouldn't have said it was OK. He called his dad and told him he made a mistake by saying it was OK not to attend, but my father-in-law pointed the finger back at my husband, saying he gave them permission. I have forgiven my husband, but I refuse to see my father-in-law as he has not reached out to me or my family to apologize. My husband is now giving me guilt trips for not forgiving him. I am missing out on their family functions with my daughter, but he hasn't apologized and I think he just hopes I will forget at some point and everything will be OK again. I'm not sure what to do.
Hurt and Sad
DEAR HURT: I am so sorry for this loss -- and further sorry that your anguish and anger about it is causing you to make choices that are guaranteed to keep you anguished and angry.
You should not go through your husband to communicate with your father-in-law. He chose to use your husband as a go-between because he is a coward. He knew he was making an unkind choice to miss this funeral and he didn't want to face you.
And now you are doing your version of this same dance.
Your father-in-law will never initiate an apology and ask for forgiveness because -- he is a coward.
If you want for your hurt to be recognized, then you will have to do the hard work of communicating your feelings directly to him, without any expectation that he will respond well. After that, I hope you can heal.
DEAR AMY: We have a new dog park in town and generally things are very tame there. Sometimes there's a dust-up over aggressive behavior, but that's usually on the part of owners, not their canine charges. Lately, I've encountered people bringing very small children and letting them play among the dogs. This frankly scares the heck out of me and strikes me as asking for trouble. When the number of dogs hits critical mass and they begin to run around as a pack, I fear the worst. Rather than confront the "responsible" adult with what I see as reckless behavior, I leave with my dog, feeling slightly cowardly. What do you suggest as a way of keeping everyone safe and happy in the park?
Nervous in Redlands
DEAR NERVOUS: I'm assuming that these parents don't also have a dog at the park. Undoubtedly they have seen adorable YouTube videos of bullmastiffs safely nuzzling babies -- and think that all dogs somehow know how to protect and nurture children. I can't imagine watching this unfold and choosing to simply slip out of the dog park. And other dog owners are allowing this? You should approach the parents and warn them that a small child mingling with a pack of active dogs is extremely risky. Dogs behave differently when they are influencing each other and running as a group. Bring your own dog and let the child pet it, but caution the parent to be careful. If the parent rejects your attempt to protect the child, then yes -- slip out the back.
DEAR AMY: "Wondering Mom" read her teen son's email and discovered to her horror that he was sort of disgusting. Sigh. When I was 14, I stole a neighbor's car. (I brought it back!) I broke into homes and re-arranged the furniture. The greatest spurt of brain growth since birth occurs at this age, making most teenagers (especially boys) insane. I turned out fine. I'm sure this boy will, too.
DEAR STEVE: Sage perspective on teen insanity. Thank you.