Make amends with the family

I work in a family business along with my parents, my brother and my sister.

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 behaviour 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 behaviour 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.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.