Husband won’t defend wife from shunning by his family

Dear Abby: I am a 47-year-old woman, married to the love of my life for seven years. Three years ago, my husband’s cousin and her mother told him they didn’t like me and didn’t want me around. I only found out about it two years ago.

I feel humiliated, and it’s uncomfortable for me to be around any of them now. I don’t get invited most of the time, and that’s OK with my husband! I want him to address and resolve it, but he hasn’t and won’t. In addition, we have had some major marital issues.

I want him to stand up for me, for us and for our marriage. I haven’t done anything wrong, but I feel like I’m being punished because he won’t take a stand. He and his family have swept the whole thing under the rug for so long that neither of us knows what to do next. Please kindly advise.

Cast Aside in Texas

Dear Cast Aside: You say you and your husband have had major marital issues. Did the two of you receive counseling to resolve them, or were they, too, swept under the rug? I think some sessions with a licensed marriage and family counselor might be helpful.

I am not saying your husband should fight your battles for you, but ignoring this problem is not helping your marriage. He has to find the courage to tell these relatives that if they have a problem with you, they should address it with you. If he doesn’t, you should approach them directly.

He should have told his aunt and his cousin the two of you are a team three years ago. If he doesn’t have enough starch in his spine to do that, it will eventually destroy your marriage.

Dear Abby: My boyfriend, “Marcus,” and I recently adopted an adorable rescue puppy, “Daisy.” She was supposed to be mostly my boyfriend’s dog because I work a demanding full-time job, and I have a cat that lives with us. Marcus has always been a dog person, but I enjoy them, too.

The problem is, Daisy has taken a liking to me. When I’m home, she follows me everywhere. I suspect, due to her behavior, that she may have been mistreated by men previously, but nonetheless, Marcus is extremely hurt. He won’t take her outside if I’m home, and he doesn’t try to play with her or train her. Every time she rejects him in any way, he takes it personally.

We signed Daisy up for a puppy training class. He participated for about five minutes before giving up and handing me the leash during the first lesson. How do I get my boyfriend to stop taking our puppy’s behavior so personally? I should note, we went through this when my cat didn’t like him at first, but they are on good terms now.

Pet Problem in Washington

Dear Problem: It has been my experience that dogs respond more positively to the person who regularly feeds, exercises and plays with them and shows them affection, than to a partner who remains passive. The more Marcus withdraws from Daisy, the more pronounced her attachment to you will become. Urge him to discuss this with the dog trainer, so perhaps the situation can be put right.

Caveat: If this is the way your boyfriend reacts to perceived rejection, I’d think twice about starting a family with him if I were you.

Chuckle for the day: “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60 years old. She’s 97 now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.” — Ellen DeGeneres

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.