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by Abigail Van Buren

Visit by Ex Mistress Would Cause Man's Family Distress

DEAR ABBY: My sister "Fay" is 20 years older than me, and we were once very close. She was like my second mom. My husband, "Jerry," has been successful in business. Over the past few years we have been able to buy a beautiful new home and cars. My sister, on the other hand, has to struggle to pay her monthly bills.

Jerry is our family's main source of income, and I am not comfortable asking him to lend or give money to my sister.

Fay is resentful that we're doing better than she is. She picks fights, insults us and criticizes everything we own, including our family dog. I take her out to dinner and nice places, but she even resents that.

I miss the relationship Fay and I once had. How can I mend the fences so things can be like they used to be? -- PERPLEXED IN PEORIA

DEAR PERPLEXED: You'll be happier if you stop trying to cling to the past and accept the fact that sometimes people and relationships change. The problem is not yours -- it's your sister's. You can't buy her love or "make" her let go of her jealousy. Only she can do that.