She isn’t much of a family member

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 48 years. We have endured really expensive medical issues, and our funds are stretched to the limit.

We are both retired but still work about 20 hours a week. We used my retirement money to pay the many medical bills and have sold our new home to get into a less expensive home. I know that many have endured the same, and we are blessed to both be alive and well.

My question is about a family member who is very rich and brags about her wealth all the time. She is a sister who has made over and above what my husband and I have ever made. I am happy for her. However, even though she is well aware of our financial status, she will allow us to pay for her dinners when she’s in town and never offers us a dime.

My husband and I have always been responsible with our finances and responsibilities and have never asked for anything from her. We have even worked both full-time and part-time jobs at the same time to be able to take a vacation once a year.

She has traveled around the world, has her home paid off and stays in a warm climate during the cold months of the year. She is almost 80 has been blessed with good health all her life, is single and has no children. She states that she has put money in a trust for her brother but can’t believe he is still alive after all his illnesses.

Annie, she knows the financial state we are in. We have had to borrow money from our daughter to not go bankrupt. We are blessed to have her, too. Her aunt has never made an attempt to be caring as an aunt should be. She is the remaining relative in my husband’s family.

I have made crafts for her, sent items to her and always invited her to our home, and she accepts but is not very friendly to me. She only likes my husband because he is her brother.

I don’t think she has ever liked me. I didn’t come from money, and I went to public school; she was a cheerleader at a private school. Guess I’m not in her class of people.

Could you help me to understand why and tell me what I could do about her attitude? — Lost Without a Clue but Still Praying

Dear Lost: Don’t speculate about what she thinks of your station in life. You can’t know, and it doesn’t matter anyway. Anyone who would judge another person’s class has none.

As for the lopsided nature of your relationship, don’t hurt yourself bending over backward for someone who wouldn’t lift a finger for you. You’re not obligated to make your sister-in-law crafts or obligated to pay for her meals. You’re not even obligated to be her friend. This isn’t about retaliation or spite. Quite the opposite. It’s about making peace with who she is, respecting your differences and giving yourself enough space to love her. Once you’ve stopped trying so hard, much of the resentment you feel will melt away, even if her behavior hasn’t changed at all.

(Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. This column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate columnists. Visit the website at www.creators.com.)

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