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DEAR ABBY: This is a bit complicated. I was trying to help my sister, "Bree," last year while she was separated from her husband. (I was like a mediator.) I was her maid of honor when they were married years ago. We were close.

Bree is now accusing me of telling her ex about a man she was seeing while they were separated. I did not! She also claims I tried to sleep with her husband. I didn't do that either, Abby. He's not even my type.

She keeps fabricating lies to hurt me, and I keep rebutting them. I feel our relationship is irreparably damaged. Our parents want us to fix this. I really want to mend the rift, but I won't tolerate any more abuse from her. I have done nothing malicious. I almost hate her.

Bree and I live too far apart for counseling. Her young children will be visiting me in a couple of weeks. I love them very much. Do you think I have a chance of fixing our relationship when the kids come? I don't want to put any stress on them. They've been through enough. -- TWISTED SISTERS IN FLORIDA

DEAR SISTER: It would be interesting to know who filled your sister's head with the false information. If it was her ex-husband, it can be chalked up to his trying to cause as much damage as he could as a form of retaliation against you for "meddling" in his family problems.

Under no circumstances should you involve your sister's children in this mess -- and that includes giving them any "messages" for their mother. You should, however, either try to reason with her via telephone, e-mail, a personal letter -- or even a meeting in person, if she's willing. And that's all you or anyone can do. The rest is up to your sister.

DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, my only child, "Gwendolyn," who is now 32, had her first baby. Unfortunately, the baby was born during the exact week that my husband -- her stepfather -- and I attend his family reunion. (It is something we have done for the last 15 years.)

Gwendolyn is now incensed because we plan to attend the reunion instead of her baby's birthday party. (We were with her for the baby's birth and his first birthday party.)

I offered to compromise by having a separate celebration either before or after the reunion week, but she refused. She accuses me of putting my husband's family ahead of her and does not understand why we can't postpone or change our plans. Abby, my husband's family is scattered across the country and this is the only time we see them. Can you offer me any advice? -- PULLED IN TWO IN S. CAROLINA

DEAR PULLED IN TWO: Only this: Alternate. Next year attend the birthday party, the following year go to the reunion., etc. Attendance at either one is not, and should not be, a command performance.

DEAR ABBY: When you have a houseguest visiting in your home and you are invited to another person's home for a party, what's the polite way to deal with the visiting guest? What would you do? -- CURIOUS IN CINCINNATI

DEAR CURIOUS: If it were me and the invitation came during the visit, I would explain to my prospective hostess that I had a houseguest staying with me. That would be the party planner's cue to say, "Why don't you bring your friend? I'm sure we'd love to meet him/her." And if that didn't happen, I'd politely refuse the invitation because I already had a previous social obligation to my houseguest.

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