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by Abigail Van Buren

Recent Revelation of Affair Threatens to Break Up Family

DEAR ABBY: You always tell us to consider whether we would be better off with or without somebody. What if it's your sister? My sister and I are of retirement age and had a falling out. I felt she had become too needy, and she was very hurt when I told her so. She is awaiting my apology, which has been the pattern of our lives. Although we live 30 miles apart, I have no desire to contact her.

Because I was usually the one she went to for advice and companionship, I feel guilty for "abandoning" her and often wonder if she's OK. We are both healthy and self-sufficient. I love her because she's my sister, but I can truly say my life is easier and less complicated without her. The thought of contacting her is too much to bear. On the other hand, she's my sister. -- BETTER OFF IN COLORADO

DEAR BETTER OFF: You say your life is better off and less complicated without your needy sibling, and that you have no desire to contact her. OK. So what exactly is your question? Are you waiting for me to "order" you to call her and apologize? The price for that will be shouldering again the burden of her neediness. If you're worried about how she's doing, ask someone who is in touch with her. But hold a good thought. If you have heard nothing, she's probably fine. Bad news has a way of traveling fast.

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