DEAR ABBY: Two years ago my younger sister, "Cilla," generously set up college funds for my three children. Each of the accounts has more than $25,000. My husband and I were stunned, but Cilla insisted she is making good money in the film industry and wanted to do this for my family.
Three months ago, she came to visit, and through a bizarre turn of events, I discovered that she makes her living starring in adult films. Now that I know how Cilla earns her living, I am no longer comfortable accepting her gifts — especially the college funds for the children.
This has caused problems between my husband and me. He thinks we should keep the money because we may not be able to afford three college tuitions on our own. Abby, I don't want my sister's sexual exploits paying for our kids' education.
Should we return the money? And if we do, is it possible to do it without causing a rift between my sister and me?
— G-RATED SISTER IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR SISTER: I doubt it. If you refuse her generosity, it will appear that you are rejecting her. Nor do I think your children should be penalized because you don't approve of Cilla's lifestyle. Your husband is being pragmatic; you are being emotional. That money has already been earned. You're not going to change your sister. You may not approve, but love her for the generous and caring aunt she is trying to be and let the money be used for something positive.
DEAR ABBY: My letter to you is the first time I have shared my problem with anyone. When I met and married my husband of 30 years, we each had been divorced for more than 10 years. He had adult children with families of their own; I had none.
For several years I acknowledged their special occasions with cards and small gifts, never receiving any notice or thank you unless I had my husband ask if they had been received. I finally stopped.
Although they always celebrate their father's special days, I have yet to be remembered on mine. They send any special news or pictures addressed only to my husband.
I recognize I cannot change the situation, but my question is how do I manage my growing resentment toward not only his family but my husband as well? As you can guess, we are elderly. I don't want to spend my last years feeling this bitterness.
— WANTS PEACE OF MIND
DEAR WANTS: Obviously your husband's children never really accepted you as part of their father's life — and he didn't rock the boat. It's a shame that you waited 30 years to say what's on your mind. If you hadn't, your husband might have stood up and insisted that "the kids" show you some respect and courtesy.
Bitterness is a waste of time. If your marriage has been a happy one, dwell on that instead of nursing resentment.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have tried four times to have a baby. Because fertility medications cost around $5,000 here in Canada, we have depleted all of our savings and down payment for a home.
We are contemplating holding a fundraiser to offset the costs for a fifth try. Your thoughts, please.
— CONTEMPLATING IN CANADA
DEAR CONTEMPLATING: My heart goes out to you, but my gut reaction is negative. If you needed donations for treatment for a life-threatening condition, I might feel differently. I encourage you to explore other options available to you — including adoption.
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.