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by Abigail Van Buren

Vulgar New Member Puts Pall on Family Celebrations

DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my late 40s. My father and siblings all live in the same town. We have always been close and spend holidays, birthdays, etc. together, even as our families have grown.

Last year my brother's daughter married a horrible man I'll call "Willard." Willard is rude, vulgar and makes constant sexual innuendos. The rest of the family have decided to have nothing to do with my brother's family because of it. We're afraid to invite them to gatherings and holidays for fear that Willard will come with the rest.

We have talked about it with my brother and his wife. They feel that because Willard has become part of their family, he should be accepted whether we like him or not. Another problem: My brother thinks Willard is "wonderful" and says nothing when he's out of line. Is it time for us to also cut them off, or do you have any other ideas? -- TORN IN TUCSON

DEAR TORN: It is not your brother's job to muzzle his son-in-law when the man becomes offensive. Invite the family to one more gathering, and when Willard steps out of line, the person he offends should speak up. If Willard does not stop, do not invite him again.

By the way, when "children" are grown they should receive invitations of their own and not expect to "tag along" with their parents. Your brother should not be ostracized because of his son-in-law's bad behavior. However, if he chooses to estrange himself in order to "punish" you for drawing the line, the choice will be his.