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Family Mourns Loss of 'Honorary Uncle'

DEAR ABBY: Two years ago we lost a very close friend of mine, not to death but to a relationship. "Ben" is the most genuine, caring and loving person you could ever meet. He and my sister dated for what seemed like forever, but unfortunately it didn't work out. We were all devastated. Still, after their relationship ended, he was around because he had become like a member of our family.

Ben finally met a great woman he cared for. We were all happy he had found someone and maybe he'd finally be the great dad we knew he could be. Our family loved his new girlfriend, and welcomed her to all gatherings as she was an extension of him.

Six months to a year into their relationship, we learned that Ben failed to mention to her that he and my sister had been an item for many years (engaged at one point). When she found out, she demanded that he stop talking to us. We even had a "goodbye" dinner with him.

Ben is now married to his then-girlfriend. I miss him dearly and think about him every week as he was that important to me. He attended all birthdays, graduations, etc., and he has now missed many of them. I always thought he would be the "uncle" my children never had.

Would it be selfish or unfair to him if I approached his wife about letting us back into his life? -- MISS HIM DEARLY

DEAR MISS HIM: I don't think it would be selfish or unfair to Ben, but depending upon the level of his wife's insecurity, it may be unsuccessful. Ben should have been honest with her from the beginning about his connection to your family. That the information was withheld from her may be why she reacted the way she did.

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