The Atlantic

Dear Therapist: My Family Takes Offense at Everything My Husband Does

I can’t help but think he’s the cause of the growing rift with my relatives.
Source: Bianca Bagnarelli

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at

Dear Therapist,

I’m torn between my extended family and my husband. We have been married for 14 years. The last couple of times we’ve hosted a family gathering at our home, my husband has done one thing or another that my family perceives as rude or disrespectful.

For example, at my son’s birthday party, a family member brought him a toy. My son broke the toy within minutes, and asked my husband to fix it. My husband tossed the toy out of the door, saying, “This is cheap and can’t be fixed”—in full view of everyone in the room, including the person who bought the gift. I was horrified and told him he could have waited until they left

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