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Dear Ann Landers: My husband's mother passed away four years ago. His father remarried not long after, but my husband hasn't taken to his stepmother very well.

About two months ago, I had a long talk with my father-in-law and let him know that his son wanted a closer relationship. The minute I opened my mouth, his wife jumped in, made all kinds of accusations and stormed out. I might not have been very diplomatic in my approach, but I figured it was best to lay my cards on the table.

I have apologized to his wife, but I cannot change the way I feel. Now the woman avoids us completely, and I think she is persuading my father-in-law to do the same. I am afraid I have made things worse, and now I want to make the situation better. Any ideas?

-- Lost in Louisiana
Dear Louisiana: It is said that distance lends enchantment, and in this case, I recommend it -- for a while, at least. Maintain contact, but don't rehash the argument. Let the situation cool down. Don't try to butter up the woman or be obsequious. Just be pleasant, and let time do its work.

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