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by Abigail Van Buren

Family Dinners With Her Ex Give Woman Painful Heartburn

DEAR ABBY: I was married to my high school sweetheart for nine years, until he cheated on me. While I was at home taking care of our 1-year-old son, he was seeing other women. The one he was seeing when we divorced is now his wife.

Since she caused the breakup of my marriage, I really don't want to have anything to do with either of them socially.

I live 1,000 miles away from my family. When I visit them, my stepmother makes it a point to invite my ex and this woman to our family gatherings, including family reunions. The stress has caused me to have health problems. My stepmother is well aware of this.

I don't want to be a party pooper, but my feelings should come first. I am one of nine kids, and she does this only to me. It is very hard to sit across the table from them, as I feel very strongly that they don't belong in the picture. Any advice? -- HEARTSICK IN FORT ST. LUCIE, FLA.

DEAR HEARTSICK: Since your father and stepmother are aware of the circumstances that ended your marriage, and the fact that you are uncomfortable in the presence of your ex-husband and his new wife, but continue to invite them -- face it: They have made a choice, and it isn't you. Before you return for another family reunion, ask them why they invite your ex-husband and his wife, and make your plans accordingly.