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Sister-in-law never tires of sob story

Dear Abby: My brother "Dan" cheated on his wife, "Darlene." His affair lasted five years before he dumped Darlene to pursue a relationship with the other woman. Every time family members invite Darlene and her children to an event, we have to listen to her long, drawn-out monologue about Dan's affair

I don't approve of Dan's behavior, but I refuse to hate him because their marriage failed. Darlene has spent the last four years making sure her kids never see my brother's new wife or meet their half-siblings.

I don't want to cut my nieces and nephews out of my life. But I don't care if I ever see Darlene again. Any suggestions?

-- Tired of the Sob Story

Dear Tired: The reason the No. 1 songs on the charts keep changing is listeners finally grow bored and stop buying them. The same is true for the "he done me wrong" chorus your former sister-in-law keeps repeating. While I understand her pain and anger, it's a shame Darlene hasn't accepted that she needs to get on with her life.

Because you can't control her, when she starts her next refrain, excuse yourself. Let her entertain the rest of the family while you spend quality time with your nieces and nephews, and you'll all have a better time.


Sometimes, answer is 'no'

Dear Abby: We just moved into a new neighborhood and a cute little boy came to our door selling coupon books. My husband answered the door and was nice to the boy, but told him we weren't interested in buying the book. The child hung his head and walked away slowly.

I found out he and his family live two doors down. Should we apologize to our neighbors for making their son feel bad, or should we just let it go?

-- Ashamed in Houston

Dear Ashamed: I see no reason for you to apologize. The books are not helpful for everyone. The boy is getting sales and life experience.