Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Slighted Wife Looks for Closure

DEAR NATALIE: So how about this, after reading all of your letters about wedding gifts, I had to ask you about my dilemma: My now husband's family, at least a dozen of them, ate at our sit-down dinner, drank and danced the night away at our wedding several years ago. Not only did we not get a gift from any of them, but also we did not even get a card that said congratulations! I have carried a grudge since that day! I don't enjoy being with them because I find them rude and selfish. It is creating a wedge between me and my husband's family, but I have been having a hard time letting go. What are your thoughts? I am tired of feeling this way. Help me put this behind me! -- ANGRY WIFE

DEAR ANGRY WIFE: Who is it hurting more by carrying around all of this anger? Something that rubbed you the wrong way many years ago has tainted your relationships and possible friendship with your husband's family. People are selfish. They are selfish and rude and cranky and funny and loving and thoughtful and more. We are not all "good" or all "bad." No one is perfect. What gives me hope is that we are capable of change. We are capable of being better. Sometimes, we just need motivation to do so. Be that motivation. Make a conscious decision to put those bad feelings behind you and realize that now is all we have. Show them how you want to be treated by treating them well. Invite them for dinner. Make an effort to call more often. Take their kids to the movies. Do something good for someone else in your extended family and see how it feels. You may not get the reciprocity or the adoration you are looking for right away, but when we plant seeds of love, in time beautiful things may grow.

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)