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by Abigail Van Buren

Man's Family Treats Him as a Second-Class Citizen

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a wonderful man for 33 years. He doesn't drink or smoke and has never used pot or drugs. We have the best time together, love each other and enjoy our life together.

The trouble is his family. He's the youngest, and they treat him like an outsider. Whenever we get together, his mother often tells him he was a "surprise" baby, and his siblings treat him like an interloper.

I have been wanting to limit our contact with his family, and my husband, who has been loyal to them even though they treat him this way, is finally coming around. I don't want to be rude, but his family will never change their ways. What's the most polite way of distancing ourselves without hurting anyone? -- OUTSIDER'S WIFE

DEAR WIFE: The "polite way" is to tell the relatives you can't see them because you have a schedule conflict, a previous commitment, a trip planned, a sick pet, or think you may be coming down with something contagious and don't want to give it to them. The better way would be for you and your husband to tell them you don't like the way they treat him and if it continues, they will see much less of both of you.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Family & Parenting