2/14/2022 | By Amy Dickinson

In this edition of “Ask Amy,” advice columnist Amy Dickinson addresses a contrite, interfering mother-in-law who outed her daughter-in-law. What now?

Dear Amy:

I never interfere with our children’s spouses’ business. I have a good relationship with both of our kids’ spouses.

Our daughter-in-law decided to go back to school about five years ago.

Our son financed her education with the hopes, I suspect, that she’d get a good-paying job and improve their financial situation.

She graduated, but has never secured a job.

She is in a medical field that requires a state license. My husband and daughter both hold state licenses in their respective medical fields, and are listed on the state registry. While browsing the registry recently, my husband noticed that our daughter-in-law’s name was not in the registry. He told our son, who was not aware of this.

She later explained to him that she’d “let her license lapse.”

My husband noted that if she’d ever secured a state license, her name would be on the registry and is kept there until death.

I told my son that I didn’t think she was being truthful with him.

He was upset with her, and now she won’t speak to us.

I know I overstepped into their business and I even surprised myself because I usually never do this.

What should I do now? Do I need to apologize, and if so, how? I do know that she lies.

– Contrite Mother-in-Law

Dear Contrite:

From your account, your husband also busy-bodied his way into and through this drama. Don’t leave him out of the contrition portion of this episode.

Furthermore, your final shot: “I do know that she lies” makes me wonder if you are ready to apologize.

Even though your daughter-in-law seems firmly in the wrong regarding her own choices, you and your husband have outed her and interfered in her business life and in her marriage.

Under what circumstances would she want to communicate with you?

The way to apologize is to own your actions, sincerely say that you are sorry, say that you will never do this again, and ask for forgiveness.

Now that your daughter-in-law has been exposed, the marriage might be in trouble, and while this is not your fault or responsibility, I predict a cold front, followed by an extended period of frost.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from an interfering mother-in-law to DNA surprises. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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