Dear Abby: My brother and his family never invite me to any family get-togethers

DEAR ABBY: My pregnant oldest niece just had a gender reveal party to which I was not invited. She called me instead to tell me the gender of the baby. My brother (her father) and his wife were invited. My sister-in-law is now having a baby shower for my niece. I don’t feel like I’m being treated like family anymore. My brother and his family never invite me to any family get-togethers.

I’m wondering why I was not invited to the gender reveal party, yet she’s inviting me to her baby shower. My feelings are if I wasn’t good enough to be invited to the gender reveal along with her friends and the rest of our family, then why should I go to her baby shower? — HURT AUNT IN INDIANA

DEAR HURT AUNT: If you want a relationship with your pregnant oldest niece, attend the shower and be friendly. If you decline the invitation, you will further the estrangement from your brother’s family. I don’t know what caused it and neither do you, but you should definitely ask if you did something that offended them because it has been hurtful. (Just don’t ask that question AT the shower!)

DEAR ABBY: I have been in love with a man for 34 years. I was married to him once, then divorced him because of drugs. I have been remarried for eight years now, to a wonderful man who is good to me, but aloof to my needs or desires. I am not in love with him. When we talked early in the marriage about my needs, he got sullen and said he would “try.” That lasted a very short time. He is focused only on his wants and needs.

Three years ago, my ex lost his mother. I contacted his brother to offer sympathy, and then my ex contacted me. We have talked and cried together. He has apologized and asked for forgiveness. He then told me he has never stopped loving me. We have met a couple of times since, and I’m having a hard time deciding what to do.

My home is more like a small office than a home. We have a business, a ministry, and I have a full-time job. I can’t just pack up and leave, but in my heart I want to go back to my ex. He has been clean for three years, free from the drug-related health problems and is not going to return to that life. What do I do? — TORN IN LOVE IN THE SOUTH

DEAR TORN: The relationship you have described with your self-centered husband seems more like a business partnership than anything else. From what you describe, he’s either unwilling or unable to give you what you need. Unless you like living in an emotional desert, you will have to take charge of your life.

IF you decide to divorce your husband, I urge you to take a LONG pause and not rush back to the altar. Get to know your ex again. Learn what pressures drove him to substance abuse. Although you care for him, the last thing you need is to wind up back at square one.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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