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by Abigail Van Buren

Resentment Over Brief Affair Has Divided Family for Years

DEAR ABBY: Seventeen years ago, I had a (minor) tryst with my wife's sister. Months later, it came to light during an unfortunate phone conversation. Since then, my wife and I have gone through years of counseling.

Our family has recovered and all is well -- except with my wife's brother-in-law (the husband). He considers me "persona non grata," and I have been excluded from all family functions, at least those he is involved in.

I took my counselor's advice and sent him a written apology, delivered by my wife. My parents-in-law have forgiven me (as well as their daughter) for the errant behavior, but still a massive wedge remains in our family. My father-in-law is ailing now and is desperate for reconciliation. I've done what I can (I think). What now? What more? -- PERSONA NON GRATA IN ILLINOIS

DEAR P.N.G.: You have already apologized. You can't force your brother-in-law to accept it. Because your father-in-law is desperate for reconciliation, he is the one who should appeal to your brother-in-law to heal the breach.

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