THE WIFE-IN-LAW TRAP by Ann Crytser

THE WIFE-IN-LAW TRAP

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, family therapist and first-time author Crytser spotlights the uneasy relationship between divorced women and the ex-husbands' current wives. Although Crytser is an eloquent writer and assiduous researcher (numerous Filled-in questionnaires, 93 extended interviews), she covers mostly familiar territory, mapped enthusiastically by sitcoms, soap operas, and magazine articles. Many readers will have personally experienced the ""wife-in-law"" relationship, and almost all will have had confiding friends who are wives-in-law. And so we get a sense of dÉja vu when interviewed ex-wives express bitterness at being replaced by a one-time friend or a younger woman, or complain of their downgraded financial and social status. Current wives fulminate over the Financial drain of child support and alimony, and they heartily wish that their husbands' exes would remarry. Interestingly, many wives-in-law find themselves handling all negotiations concerning children's visits and events (such as graduations) at which parental attendance is expected. However, child-rearing problems are seldom discussed by them here, although there is much grousing about how the other woman ""mishandles"" the children. Crytser's strategies for smoothing the wife-in-law relationship are unexceptional: read supportive books; find a confidante, support group, or professional counselor; understand and accept the reality of being a wife-in-law, and so on. Newly minted wives-in-law, social scientists, or psychotherapists may find some dim enlightenment here.

Pub Date: June 16th, 1990
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster