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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Reluctant to Let Go of Dead Husband's Family

DEAR ABBY: When my wife, "Kiki," and I married three years ago, I had been divorced for 11 years, and she had been widowed for eight.

The problem we're having is she continues to want to spend the holidays with her deceased husband's family. They are nice people, but I don't feel comfortable with it. Kiki and I have talked about starting our own traditions, but she insists that she doesn't want to cut those ties. Sometimes I feel like I am living with a ghost.

I have spoken to other members of her family. They have agreed that she needs to cut those ties, but my wife is stubborn about changing her holiday routine. Your thoughts on this, please? -- LIVING WITH A GHOST IN KANSAS

DEAR LIVING WITH A GHOST: You didn't mention how long your wife was married before she was widowed, but it seems that it was long enough that she became part of her in-laws' family. Please don't take that away from her. If you give them a chance, I am sure they will accept you as part of the family, too.

Of course, the solution to your problem lies in compromise. Not every holiday should be spent with the former in-laws -- but that doesn't mean you couldn't alternate. And that's what I recommend you do until you establish different traditions.