Dear Ann Landers,
My husband's mother passed away four years ago. His father remarried not long after, but my husband hasn't taken to his stepmother very well. He never speaks to her unless he absolutely has to.
Although there never has been an argument or a fight between them, the tension is obvious, and it is uncomfortable for everyone.
About two months ago, I had a long talk with my father-in-law and let him know that his son wanted a closer relationship. The minute I opened my mouth, his wife jumped in, made all kinds of accusations and stormed out. I admit I might not have been very diplomatic in my approach, but I figured it was best to be honest and lay my cards on the table. Apparently, that was the wrong thing to do.
I have apologized to his wife for being so frank, but I cannot change the way I feel. Now, the woman avoids us completely, and I think she is persuading my father-in-law to do the same. I am afraid I have made things worse, and now, I want to make the situation better. Any ideas? -- Lost in Louisiana
It is said that distance lends enchantment, and in this case, I recommend it -- for a while, at least. Maintain contact, but don't rehash the argument. Let the situation cool down. Don't try to butter up the woman or be obsequious. Just be pleasant. Ignore the past, and let time do its work.
Lonesome? Take charge of your life and turn it around. Write to receive Ann Landers' booklet "How To Make Friends and Stop Being Lonely." Send a self-addressed, long, business-sized envelope and a check or money order for $4.25 (this includes postage and handling) to: Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.