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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's 'Benefits Package' Sidesteps Matters of Love

DEAR ABBY: My husband has four siblings, all adults with families of their own. A little more than a year ago, my father-in-law, "Carl," asked Mom for a divorce. That's when we learned that their relationship had been going downhill for several years.

All of the "kids," especially my husband, have embraced Mom and shunned Carl. They say terrible things about him and his new girlfriend, "Angie," whom they refuse to meet. We hardly see Carl anymore, and the few times he has come to our home for dinner, my husband has made it clear that Angie is not welcome.

I don't pretend to know how it feels to have your parents split up after 40 years. I try to be understanding and supportive to my husband and his family. I have kept my opinions to myself, but I am frustrated with all of them. I'm certain Carl waited to end his marriage until after all his children were old enough to understand. I feel they need to make some kind of move to get past this. Is there anything I can do? -- KEEPING IT TO MYSELF IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR KEEPING IT: No, there isn't. Your husband and his siblings are reacting emotionally to the breakup of their parents' marriage. Perhaps at a later date -- after more time passes -- they will come to accept it. That is, unless they perceive Angie as having caused the divorce.

I see nothing positive to be gained by putting yourself in the middle of this. Sometimes silence is golden.