Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I work in a family business along with my parents, my brother and my sister. Two years ago, my brother’s wife and my sister’s husband also worked there, but they had an affair and moved away together. Three months later, they both returned to their spouses. Their marriages are reconciled, but they are not allowed back in the family business.
I refuse to attend any event that includes the two of them. I am so upset about what they did to my family that I will not speak to either of them. The problem is, my sister is constantly telling me that I have to accept her husband and stop being so stubborn. I keep telling her what they did is not acceptable and I do not have to be around either one of them.
What do you suggest? Am I wrong to feel this way? — Confused
Dear Confused: You are not wrong. Their behavior was reprehensible. However, avoiding family events where these in-laws will be present mostly hurts your sister and brother. They are having a hard enough time with their marriages. It surely is additional punishment to know the affair has also caused an estrangement with their sibling. Etiquette quite helpfully provides a solution. It’s called “snubbing.” Attend these family events, and be loving toward your sister and brother and aloof toward the miscreants. Your behavior will make your disapproval abundantly clear.
Dear Annie: You advocate meeting people through volunteer organizations, local theater productions, choirs, political groups, book clubs, etc. Doing that can certainly keep a person busy, but it doesn’t always lead to meeting a potential romantic interest.
I was widowed 20 years ago at the age of 49. I continue to be active in various civic organizations, political groups (I even ran for local office a couple of times.), my church, a weekly exercise group and the local senior center. Have I met anyone? No, and I’ve just about given up and decided to adopt a cat to keep me company. — S.
Dear S.: While joining organizations can lead to romance, that should not be your main focus. The point is to be involved in activities that you enjoy and where you can meet others who share your interests. It’s a way to make friends and lead a full life. Romance would be a bonus. We don’t know why you haven’t been able to find what you are searching for, but if you have been helping your community and staying active, you haven’t been wasting your time.
Dear Annie: I’m writing in response to the letter from “Trying to Keep the Peace,” who was criticized for posting information about her grandfather’s death on Facebook. She doesn’t mention how long she waited before putting that online.
We recently had a similar situation. A relative died late in the evening, and due to the hour, the decision was made to wait until morning to notify family members. But one relative posted the information on their Facebook page that same evening, and several close family members were upset when they saw the posting before we had a chance to call.
“Trying” defends the posting by saying that obituaries are published in the local newspaper, but this is done after those closest to the deceased have already been notified. Perhaps a good policy would be to delay posting a death notice on any website for, say, 12 to 24 hours out of respect for the family, allowing them to come to grips with their loss and gently inform their loved ones personally.
It was heartbreaking enough to deal with our loss without also having to deal with the fallout from family members finding out about it online. — Also Trying to Keep the Peace
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.7.11