DEAR ABBY: I was married to my first husband for 13 years and was very close to his family. His parents and sister were like my own. We ended up divorcing, and it was an extremely painful situation on both sides.
His family wanted to stay in touch with me afterward because they still loved me. I felt the same, so we remained connected through Facebook and the occasional phone call. After I remarried, their phone calls became less frequent, but we still remain connected on Facebook and message each other now and then.
It has been six years since my divorce, and we are drifting even further apart now because they often post photos of my ex and his new wife, who has become their daughter in my place. It's painful because it's a reminder that our relationship is fading away. I miss them and the wonderful times we had together that we will never have again.
Sometimes I wonder if it was healthy for any of us to stay in touch since we will never see each other in person, and all our online connection does is make us sad that things aren't the way they used to be. Should I politely cut ties or continue holding on to the frayed ends of what tiny shred of closeness we still have? How can I let go of such wonderful people in my life? And yet, are they not already lost to me? -- HURTING EX-DAUGHTER-IN-LAW
DEAR HURTING: As the circumstances of life change, so can the intensity of relationships. It says a lot about the one you had with your in-laws that they have remained in contact with you all this time. However, you and your ex have remarried, and your lives have taken different paths. Because seeing posts of the new wife causes you pain, stop viewing them and concentrate your energies on the life you have now. If you do, you will be happier.
DEAR ABBY: I recently quit my job for several reasons. I was no longer satisfied with my work, and I was overwhelmed with the demands from my job and attending a graduate program at the same time. I told my boss I was feeling very stressed out working for them since starting my graduate program. She was supportive and said "the door was always open," and I was welcome to come back in the future.
Soon after quitting, I reached out to her twice for a letter of recommendation. To my dismay she never replied. I took it personally since I had worked alongside her for nearly five years. Abby, am I blowing this out of proportion, or should she have had the common courtesy to respond? Is it normal for businesses to ignore former employees when asking for a letter of recommendation for another job? -- CONFUSED IN THE WEST
DEAR CONFUSED: In some states, it can be risky for a company to provide a letter of recommendation. That is why if prospective employers ask for information, they are given only the dates the person was employed there, for fear of legal liability. This may be why your former employer was unwilling to write one for you.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)