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. My problem is, every time family members invite Darlene and her children to be part of an event, we have to listen to her long, drawn-out monologue about Dan's affair with "that woman."
I don't approve of Dan's behavior, but I refuse to hate him because their marriage failed. It was on the downslide for a long time before the affair began. Darlene has spent the last four years making sure her kids never see my brother's new wife or meet their half-siblings. She talks openly in front of them about how "evil" their father and "that woman" are, then invites Dan on family trips, which I'd find confusing if I were in their shoes.
I don't want to cut my nieces and nephews out of my life, because they need stability. But I don't care at this point if I ever see Darlene again. Any suggestions? I'm at my wit's end. -- 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. A step in that direction would be to quit wallowing in the past.
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.