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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Grapples With Family's History of Sexual Dysfunction

DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I were first married, I had no idea why his mother and sisters were so hostile. When they started treating our children the same way, my husband finally addressed the issue. We moved out of town, and he finally told me that when he was in his teens and early 20s, he had had sex with all of them, which was why they didn't like me.

After an estrangement of many years, he has now started talking to his mother and sisters again. His mother is now in her 70s. It breaks my heart that he is talking to people he had sex with, but he says it is OK because they are "family." In my opinion, he should have nothing to do with them. Please tell me how I need to handle things. -- "ALL IN THE FAMILY"

DEAR "ALL IN": You cannot control what another adult does. I sympathize with your feelings, and I agree your husband's family situation was beyond unhealthy. However, from what you wrote, I get the impression that you would be equally upset if he were talking with ex-girlfriends. If your husband wants to talk to his relatives, he's going to do it regardless of whether or not you find it threatening. My question to you would be, are you willing to tolerate it?

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Abuse | Love & Dating