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Dear Abby: How many relationships should I try to have with my widowed sister-in-law?

Dear Abby: How many relationships should I try to have with my widowed sister-in-law?

Dear Abby: I am a 61 year old single woman with no children. Most of my life has been spent taking care of my aging parents, working on my education (I have a master’s degree) and saving for my future. I am financially stable. I am the free and clear owner of my home, own my car and have very little credit card debt. I have a good job that I enjoy, a circle of friends and lots of activities.

I took care of my parents because it was the right thing to do, and I was ready for them to die when their time came.

My brother (my only brother) died unexpectedly a year after my mother passed away. It was a terrible shock, and it took me the last two years to recover from his loss. My case is with my brother’s widow. We’ve never been close. No animosity, no harsh words ever spoken, but we never bonded.

My niece and I get along beautifully, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get along with my sister-in-law. She is very dismissive of my sadness. She never calls and never asks about my life. She never goes to meet anyone nor reaches in any way. She is sensitive and kind when I do, but communication is one-way.

I honestly wouldn’t have missed her if I hadn’t seen her, but my loyalty to my brother and my desire to keep my niece out of the way have kept me from putting too much distance. Now that my parents and brothers are gone, there are things I want to pursue on my own. How much do I owe him? – Thinking of the Future in Tennessee

Dear Future-Thinker: Your brother’s widow may be dealing with her own grief over the loss of her spouse and unable to support your husband. Be cordial to her, as she is to you, but move on with your life and relationships. Remember them on special occasions with calls, cards or invitations. If you and your niece have a close relationship, those things should come naturally.

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You have handled the responsibilities life has entrusted to you with grace and generosity. Now is the time to enjoy your life and worry less about the lives of others.

Dear Abby: I recently broke up with my boyfriend. He said he loved me, but I felt like a third wheel in our relationship. He had a female friend from whom he was constantly borrowing money, even though we both work. He also gave her relationship advice. They bickered back and forth like 2-year-olds, and when we went somewhere, they’d turn my back on me while they were having conversations that I was never involved in. He cut me off every time I spoke. When I asked him the reason for this, he said that I talk nonsense. Was I wrong to walk away? – Bail in Pennsylvania

Dear Belling: Wrong? No! The man had no respect for your feelings or for you. For all the reasons you mentioned, you are much better off without him. I’m glad you finally woke up enough self-respect to end things with the two of them. To paraphrase the late Princess Diana, there were three people in your relationship.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. contact dear abby www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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