Politics have torn my family apart

DEAR ABBY: I moved to a conservative state to be close to my aging parents and become closer with my siblings and extended family. After six years, my parents and a sister have passed on, and I’m wondering what I’m even doing here. My political views are at the opposite spectrum from my siblings and extended family, which I can deal with as long as we don’t talk politics. My husband argues politics with them and doesn’t understand that no one is changing their minds. 

We’re no longer invited to family get-togethers, and they don’t initiate conversations or dinners. Neither do we. They are very vocal about their politics, and relations are frosty with some of them. I don’t know how to repair relationships with them as long as they keep discussing politics. Please advise. — LEFT VS. RIGHT IN UTAH

DEAR LEFT VS. RIGHT: From what you have written, it seems your husband has been equally guilty of initiating those political rants. It may be too late to repair the damage that he has helped to create. Because you are now estranged from those relatives, I see no harm in exploring options for relocating. Safe travels!

DEAR ABBY: My spouse and I work at the college where we were undergraduates. The school has a strong reunion tradition, and thousands of alumni come with their families to relive their college days. We live here year-round and are sort of done with reminiscing. 

In years past, I’ve had boundary issues with former classmates who come to town assuming they can stay at our house (without asking) and think we want to entertain them late into the night. We had to implement a “no classmates at the house” rule, and most people understand we’d prefer to visit them on campus. 

However, one former classmate is oddly persistent and asked if she can come “see” our house. When I said I’m not entertaining guests, she asked if she could come and look around without me. (Clearly no.) Then she asked if she could just walk by my house and see what it looks like from the outside, which I can’t control, but is pretty weird since I made it clear I was looking for privacy. 

How do I set boundaries with someone who wants to stand on the sidewalk and stare in my windows? We were friends 15 years ago, but are not close now. They are coming again in the near future and it’s already stressing me out. — CAREER COLLEGIAN IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR COLLEGIAN: While you can’t prevent a pushy person from looking at your house from the sidewalk, you can tell her that her persistence is making you uncomfortable and to please stop. You might also point out that if you feel like having a visitor, the invitation will come from you and not vice versa.

TO MY READERS: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement begins at sundown. During this 24-hour period, observant Jewish people fast, engage in reflection and prayer, and formally repent for any sin that might have been committed during the previous Hebrew year. To all of you who observe — may your fast be a meaningful 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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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