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Family Extends Too Far When Husband's Ex Wife Is Included

DEAR ABBY: Eight months ago, I married "Tim." We're very happy. There's only one problem. Tim has a son from a previous marriage. The boy lives with his mother, "Agnes."

Abby, Tim's family invites Agnes to all the family holiday dinners. They say they do it for his son's sake, but I find it extremely uncomfortable. Last Christmas, I stayed home while Tim went to his mother's for dinner so he could be with his son and family.

Now that I'm Tim's wife, I feel strongly that I should no longer have to spend all my holidays with Agnes. Tim knows how I feel. He spends very little time with Agnes at these functions, but he says we must participate in these holiday dinners.

Tim has told his parents how awkward the situation is for me. They say we should be more mature about it. This is very upsetting, but what can I do? -- DREADING THE HOLIDAYS IN MEMPHIS

DEAR DREADING: The solution may lie in compromise. Now that you are Tim's wife, you may wish to start some holiday traditions of your own, and include Tim's son and family members. Consider inviting them for Christmas Eve dinner or brunch on Christmas morning, easing Agnes out of the picture. The situation may improve when Agnes finds a replacement for Tim, but meanwhile, take some positive steps to make your holidays brighter by not relying on his family for all your Christmas cheer.

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