Family brings up failed marriage

DEAR ABBY: I married when I was in my early 20s and stayed married for four years. It has been five years since my divorce. We had no children, and I haven’t had contact with my ex. The problem is, my family won’t stop bringing him up. My sister is being married soon, so they constantly discuss my wedding.

I didn’t live near my family before the divorce, so they don’t know how bad my marriage really was. I didn’t tell them because I don’t think it’s their business. They didn’t like him, but they don’t know all of my reasons for getting divorced. I have moved on with my life.

I recently moved back to be near my family, which I regret now because they can’t let go of my past. I have changed a lot in the time that I lived away from them. I worked my way through college and dealt with a genetic, life-threatening health issue (hospital stays included), all without their support. Since then, I have focused on my career, my health, self-care and my happiness. I’m proud of myself and have made only positive changes since my divorce.

I have told my family I don’t appreciate their constantly bringing up my failed marriage and my sister’s wedding all the time, but they continue to do so. They say they don’t understand why it bothers me. Am I overreacting? How do I establish boundaries with them about this? As of now, I’m spending less time with them in order to stay focused on my life goals. — KEEPING THE PAST IN THE PAST

DEAR KEEPING: You shouldn’t blame your relatives for something they don’t know — specifically, the fact that your marriage was much worse than they realize. This is wedding season, your sister’s nuptials are fast approaching, and it’s only natural that the subject of weddings — present, future and past — comes up. Remind them that your marriage is a sensitive subject. If they don’t stop bringing it up after that, then continue to distance yourself.

Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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