DEAR ABBY: After my husband’s younger brother recently passed away, the family gathered. When one group of nephews arrived in a city an hour away from us, we were invited to lunch. (The restaurant was where the nephews had first been introduced to beer by their now-deceased uncle.) My husband didn’t want to go, saying it was silly to drive that far for one meal. I convinced him to go, to celebrate family ties and spend time with these nephews we seldom see.
When we arrived, one of the nephews had arranged for his friend, a real estate agent who works with an estate sale agent, to attend the luncheon. This friend delivered a sales pitch to my husband, who is the administrator of his late brother’s estate. I was offended. I didn’t think the time or the place was appropriate. I felt the sales pitch was an intrusion.
My husband is more forgiving. He sees nothing wrong with someone seizing an opportunity when it presents itself. If it were up to me, I’d exclude that real estate agent from consideration because of his insensitivity. However, my husband is considering using this agent because his youth and aggressiveness may be an advantage in selling.
Of course, it’s my husband’s decision, and I’ll bow to whatever he decides. But now I’m wondering, am I wrong to be upset because these relatives invited this person into what was going to be our family time? – Taken Aback in Ohio
DEAR TAKEN ABACK: I agree it may have been insensitive to turn an occasion when the tears were still wet into a business meeting. However, what’s done is done, and I hope your upset has dissipated. The responsibility for settling his brother’s estate now falls to your husband. If he feels that insensitive and aggressive is the way to go, leave the decision to him. (And stay out of the line of fire.)
DEAR ABBY: How do you deal with a jealous adult sibling? My sibling has never spoken of this to me. However, my sibling’s partner made it clear they felt I was favored over my sibling by our parents. I discussed it with our mother. She told me they have helped dig my sibling out of the hole many times.
My sibling has since passed away. But, years later, my in-law mentioned again to me how I’m the “favorite,” with details. I didn’t respond, and just let the person talk about their feelings. I’m not sure what they want from me. Whether their statement is true or not, I don’t think my in-law should be speaking to me about it. Of course, they would never say anything to my parents. If this person brings this topic up again, how should I respond? – Maybe the Favorite
DEAR MAYBE: Tell your late sibling’s partner you are tired of hearing it, and if they have a complaint to air, it should be made with your parents. If your sibling was irresponsible with money, the fault is not your own. You have nothing to feel guilty about, though it appears this in-law is trying to make you feel that way.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.