DEAR ABBY: My sister "Penny" and I live in different states and lead completely different lives. We have grown distant over the years -- my choice really.
Penny isn't a bad person. She just doesn't "get" my lifestyle. I have decided to remain unmarried and childless. A husband and family are all Penny ever wanted, and she considers it an insult that I don't want the life she always dreamed about for herself.
I would like to spend time with my sister -- occasionally -- but she has a different personality, no close friends and feels we must have a close relationship because we're sisters. Abby, I don't want to be her replacement for the friends she is unable to make.
Penny complains that I never visit. But when I do, we're both miserable, tend to provoke each other and get under each other's skin. I love her, but it isn't productive for us to spend a lot of time together. I would like to have a less stressful relationship with her and my new nephew. What can I do to make this happen? -- HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR IN WYOMING
DEAR HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR: By being frank with your sister and telling her exactly what you have told me. You can have a less stressful relationship with her, but it will require some compromise on the part of each of you. Explain to her that you do not have it in you to provide the closeness she appears so desperate for and perhaps she will finally accept what you are willing and able to give her. It may lessen the tension between you.