DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, I married a kind, hardworking man I'll call Travis. These two years have been the best of my life, and I couldn't imagine a better husband. But I just got some news I feel is threatening our marriage.
Travis' friend from childhood, "Bethany," wants to start a family with her wife. Travis informed me that he agreed to donate sperm to Bethany so she can become pregnant. I feel betrayed. My husband will be starting a family with his friend before we have kids. I know it may seem irrational, but I feel like he's cheating on me.
When I told him how I felt, he said that I was being selfish and that it was his decision. He also said it wouldn't matter because he wasn't going to help raise the child. Does Travis really have the right to donate his sperm without my consent? If so, how do I suppress my anger toward him and Bethany?
- Fuming in the Midwest
DEAR FUMING: You are asking some intelligent questions that should be answered by a lawyer. Your husband may be the nicest, most generous man on the planet, but there are contingencies that must be considered before Bethany becomes pregnant. Please suppress your anger long enough to convince Travis that he shouldn't rush into this agreement without legal counsel. He may thank you for it later.
Bride-to-be asking his mom for permission?
DEAR ABBY: Traditionally, husbands-to-be ask the fiancee's father for permission to marry her. Why do we never hear about the bride-to-be asking the husband's mother for her permission?
My husband asked my dad before proposing to me. I think it was a nice gesture, and Dad was delighted for him to be included into our family. Had I asked my mother-in-law for permission to marry her son, I would have known she was opposed to it.
Now, three rocky years later, she's still accusing me of taking her son away from her. She tells him if he ever wants to leave me, he's more than welcome to come back home to Mommy. (His three other siblings still live there.)
Had I asked, I would have known up front that she hated me (not because of who I am, but because she didn't want her oldest to ever leave). Would I still have married him? I think I would have, but I would have been prepared for the treacherous days ahead.
- Unprepared for the Treachery
DEAR UNPREPARED: You have my sympathy. When mothers-in-law from heaven were handed out, it appears you were assigned someone from as far south as one can get. She may be the reason that verse in the Bible about leaving and cleaving was included. Your situation illustrates why it's important for women - and men - to get to know the family of their intended before taking that trip to the altar.
P.S. Traditionally, women were considered to be the property of their fathers, which is why permission needed to be granted before they were "given" in marriage. The same was not true of sons.