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by Abigail Van Buren

Ex-Husband Is Treated Like a Pariah at Family Events

DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for 30 years. During this time, my ex-wife has rarely spoken to me, and in the last 10 years said not one word to me. There have been many occasions and events at my son's home to celebrate my granddaughter's birthday, etc. My ex and many other people attend, but basically, no one speaks to me. I am totally ignored.

I have a strong hunch that during the divorce my ex told people I hit or abused her. (Not true!) She told my sister something to this effect. I believe it was a ploy to distract from the fact she had been cheating on me. Regardless, this situation is extremely hurtful and unpleasant. Any ideas how to deal with this? -- OSTRACIZED AND PARALYZED

DEAR O. & P.: Have you tried to initiate a conversation? Have you asked these people why they give you the silent treatment? They're fair questions.

After 30 years, it is a little late to correct the mindset your ex may have caused these relatives to have about you. But if at this late date you try to spread the word that she was cheating, it will accomplish nothing positive, and I don't advise it.

P.S. If the silence continues, then I recommend you bring someone -- a friend or a date -- with you to these gatherings. At least you will have someone to talk to.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Family & Parenting | Abuse | Holidays & Celebrations