EPISODE 19: Daughter-in-Law Trashes Family and Husband in Online Forum

Imagine finding out that your daughter-in-law, whom you have been helping financially along with your son (her husband) has been saying horrible things about your family on an online forum? Would you confront her? Would you tell your son? Would or SHOULD you forgive her? Is the mother-in-law meddlesome and out of line? This week’s problem, submitted to Dear Prudence, appears to be quite a tangled web, but Charlie thinks the problem is pretty simple to fix.

PROBLEM:

Dear Prudence,
About six weeks ago my husband and I received an anonymous email that said we should check out what our daughter-in-law was posting on an Internet forum we’d never heard of. We were given a link and her username. We were shocked to discover she was spending vast amounts of work time posting to this forum. More upsetting was what she was posting about us and our son. We have been generous financially and otherwise to them and their children, but according to her posts she resents us and thinks we are “interfering.” We don’t think we are, and we’ve never had our offers refused. Worse is how she talks online about our son. He is very helpful around the house and she acknowledges he gets the kids ready for day care most mornings, plays with them after work, then works in the evening at home to advance his career. Despite this, she gripes about him and details the ways he annoys her. Perhaps the very worst is finding out she has a rather unsavory past, including phone-sex work, drug addiction, and embezzlement. We knew nothing of this, but she mentions these things without a trace of guilt or embarrassment on the forum. Do we say anything to our son about what we’ve discovered? There is a part of me that would love to just ignore all we’ve learned and try to maintain a good relationship with her because we love our son and grandchildren, but my husband has been steaming about our son being “taken” by someone we suddenly realize may not be a very nice person.

— Sick at Heart

Have advice or comments about this week’s problem? Leave your feedback and advice in the comments below, via email at ask[at]nobodyasked.com, or via voicemail below.

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