DEAR ABBY: I am a 67-year-old divorced mother of five and grandmother of eight. My marriage to the father of my first four children ended 30 years ago because he was physically and emotionally abusive. After the divorce, I managed to put myself through college, and I am now a retired teacher. I also remarried, which resulted in having one more child, a beautiful daughter who is now 27. My second husband is now deceased.

My first husband remarried soon after our divorce, and I always supported our grown children having a close relationship with him. What hurts me deeply, though, is that whenever there is a family event that includes all of us, my children from my first marriage act like my youngest daughter and I don't exist.

At the last family gathering, at my oldest daughter's home, I was treated like a stranger. I felt like crying as my older children sat, ate and talked with my ex-husband and his wife. Abby, I have always been there for my kids, through sickness and financial hardships. My ex has a great deal more money to spend on them than I do. I suspect this may be the reason they cater to him. How do I cope with my feelings of rejection and being snubbed by them? -- HURT MOM IN THE WEST

DEAR HURT MOM: You aren't going to change the "family" dynamic at this late stage. Rather than sit silently, struggling to hold back the tears as your older children slather their father with attention, consider socializing with them separately as often as possible.

DEAR ABBY: I have been attending yoga class for several years and find it to be very beneficial mentally and physically. Recently, I started taking classes at a new studio with lovely teachers and -- mostly -- great students.

One individual, though, seems to think the class is his own social event. He over-chants "ohm" and moans loudly throughout the class. Would it be rude to say something to him, or should I just find another studio? It's gotten to the point where the entire purpose of relaxing and clearing my mind is impossible. -- MENTALLY DRAINED IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR DRAINED: Do not address the over-chanter directly. Instead, discuss your concerns with the teacher because you may not be the only participant who finds the person's vocalizations to be a distraction. Or, consider attending another class that is held at a different hour if there is one.

DEAR ABBY: My best friend is having a party and has invited my ex-boyfriend. He broke up with me a few months ago and already has a new girlfriend. He totally broke my heart, and I have been a mess ever since. She thinks it was OK to invite him, and she knows he will most likely bring his new girlfriend to her house for the party. I told her I'm not going if he goes, and she's still inviting him! Should I stop being friends with her? How should I handle this? -- NOT OK IN THE NORTH

DEAR NOT OK: Because seeing your ex-boyfriend with his new girlfriend would be too painful for you, handle it by not attending the party. As to whether you should stop being best friends with the hostess, it appears that she may have stopped being best friends with you.

 

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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)