DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law cheated on my sister two years ago. He was caught by the private eye his lover's husband had hired. My sister took him back and has been trying to be "the good wife," but he has never really seemed to be sorry or a changed man.
My problem is I can't stand him. When we get together as a family, I know I'm supposed to be civil and respectful, but I ask myself, "Why?"
I love my sister and the children. The holidays are coming. I'd like to ask him if he's faithful now, but if I did, I know he'd only lie. Can you offer me some advice? -- HOLDING A GRUDGE IN ST. CLOUD, MINN.
DEAR HOLDING A GRUDGE: Yes. For the sake of your sister and the children, please resist the urge to make things more difficult by confronting your brother-in-law. Asking him about his fidelity status would embarrass him and possibly terminate their participation in any visit.
Because your sister is trying to make her marriage work in spite of the hurt her husband has caused, the kindest thing you could do for her and the children would be to make the reconciliation as easy as possible. Tempting as it may be, please don't stir the pot.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 10-year-old girl whose family is divided. My dad brought me up, and I love him. However, my aunt hates him. I don't really know why. Dad tells me she helped my mom argue with him. My aunt is nice to me. They rarely talk to each other anymore.
I don't know which side to take. I don't want to take sides and I don't plan to. My mother died a few years back and my dad took custody. I want to stay neutral, but I don't know who to trust. -- IN THE MIDDLE IN MISSOURI
DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: Not knowing your father or your aunt, I can't decide this for you. I will point out, however, that when a couple is having a disagreement, it rarely helps if other family members get involved. What happens then is the person with less support feels ganged up on and becomes defensive.
If your aunt makes you feel torn between her and your dad, then what she's doing is wrong. It's OK to love both of them. While I agree that you should remain neutral, your father is the person who is raising you, and he deserves your love and loyalty unless he proves he cannot be trusted.
DEAR ABBY: My beautiful wife and I were a team for many years. She was the brains and I was the brawn. She took care of business matters, taxes and household duties. I did the repairs, vehicle upkeep and took care of the lawn and our garden. She was a computer whiz, while I remained computer illiterate.
As we advanced in age, I made preparations for my demise. I had everything perfectly planned. Then the unexpected happened. My wife died suddenly. I was devastated. Then I realized I was also totally lost.
She had gone completely paperless. I had no knowledge of anything. Some things were filed in the computer and others in the filing cabinet. I didn't know her email address, any account numbers and no passwords. All business transactions stopped completely, and my credit rating plummeted.
It has been a year since her death and I'm still trying to get everything corrected. Please remind your readers that the word "assume" can be a real meanie. -- SOMEWHERE IN TEXAS
DEAR SOMEWHERE: What a sobering letter. Usually the surviving spouse is the wife who was left in the dark. I'm glad you wrote, and I hope your letter will be a wake-up call to couples about sharing information.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)