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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Won't Defend Wife From Shunning by His Family

DEAR ABBY: I am a 47-year-old woman, married to the love of my life for seven years. Three years ago, my husband's cousin and her mother told him they didn't like me and didn't want me around. I only found out about it two years ago.

I feel humiliated, and it's uncomfortable for me to be around any of them now. I don't get invited most of the time, and that's OK with my husband! I want him to address and resolve it, but he hasn't and won't. In addition, we have had some major marital issues.

I want him to stand up for me, for us and for our marriage. I haven't done anything wrong, but I feel like I'm being punished because he won't take a stand. He and his family have swept the whole thing under the rug for so long that neither of us knows what to do next. Please kindly advise. -- CAST ASIDE IN TEXAS

DEAR CAST ASIDE: You say you and your husband have had major marital issues. Did the two of you receive counseling to resolve them, or were they, too, swept under the rug? I think some sessions with a licensed marriage and family counselor might be helpful.

I am not saying your husband should fight your battles for you, but ignoring this problem is not helping your marriage. He has to find the courage to tell these relatives that if they have a problem with you, they should address it with you. If he doesn't, you should approach them directly.

He should have told his aunt and his cousin the two of you are a team three years ago. If he doesn't have enough starch in his spine to do that, it will eventually destroy your marriage.