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Mother-in-law needs to give couple quiet time

Updated: July 20, 2013 11:18PM



Dear Abby: My wife and I have been married 14 years. During that time, her mother has called every single day.

Initially, I was OK with it because we were living in Florida and she was in Iowa. However, since we moved back to Iowa to be near her (we live three miles apart), she continues to call nightly. Sometimes she’ll call during dinner or during our “couple’s time” after the kids are asleep. I have expressed my dissatisfaction with this, particularly because my wife and MIL see each other and talk throughout the day.

Am I out of line to ask for family/couple time during which no outside calls come in, or am I being unreasonable? This is a touchy subject, and I don’t know how to resolve it to everyone’s satisfaction. — BOTHERED IN THE HAWKEYE STATE

DEAR BOTHERED: With whom is this a touchy subject? Your wife? Her mother? The two of them? Considering that your mother-in-law lives close by and that she and your wife talk during the day, they appear to be excessively dependent upon each other.

As a partner in your marriage, you have the right to a quiet family dinner and private time with your spouse. If your wife can’t bring herself to get that message across to her mother, then you should set a time after which “Mama” should refrain from calling unless it’s an emergency.

Dear Abby: After years of traveling overseas, I have finally found a wonderful way of getting rid of unwanted foreign coins the banks won’t exchange. Please let your readers know they can put their leftover coins to good use by mailing them to UNICEF’S Change for Good program. — PAT IN COLORADO

DEAR PAT: I’m glad you wrote, because so many people travel outside the country during the summer months.

Readers, when travelers return from an international vacation, many are shocked to find that banks change only foreign paper currency back into U.S. money, so they are left with pockets full of coins that can’t be spent. UNICEF’S Change for Good program (which is supported by some airlines) collects donated coins and uses the money to support disaster-relief programs worldwide, as well as programs benefiting children in areas that include education, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS and child protection.

Those interested in participating in this worthwhile effort should send their coins to: U.S. Fund for UNICEF, ATTN: Change for Good Program, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, N.Y. 10038.

Dear Abby: My husband and I disagree about privacy. He believes he should have the password to my email and Facebook accounts. I have nothing to hide, but I think I’m entitled to my privacy. Can you settle this for us? — PRIVATE IN BATTLE CREEK

DEAR PRIVATE: Probably not. Everyone is entitled to privacy, and being private doesn’t necessarily mean you have something to hide. Your husband may want to look at your postings because he doesn’t completely trust you. Or he may have no interests of his own. No third party can settle this tug-of-war with so little information about what else may be going on in your relationship.

To my readers: Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.



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