Dear Annie: My ex-husband and I have been divorced for three years. It was his idea. He cheated on me with several women.

His family, however, was extremely cruel, calling me all kinds of names and telling me I was a terrible mother and the worst thing that ever happened to them. Now they won’t speak to me. I was hurt and shocked by their treatment, because I thought we were friends. Not to mention, it was my ex’s behavior that caused the divorce. I assume he lied to them and made them believe it was my fault.

My ex-husband lives far away and only sees the children once or twice a year. He’s also more than $40,000 behind on his child support. His family lives closer, and they want to come over and see the kids on their own. My ex says his father is ill, and they don’t know how much time he has left. So far, I have refused.

The truth is, I would love for the children to have a relationship with his family, but I can’t get over how nasty they have been to me. They have never apologized for their behavior or reached out and tried to mend fences. On the rare occasion when my ex is in town, he will bring them to see the kids, but they still won’t speak to me.

My ex tells me that I am only punishing the children by not letting them see his family. Is it wrong for me to keep my kids away from people who have been so terrible? I worry about the lies my former in-laws would tell them. — Still Hurt

Dear Still: You are holding all the cards here. Offer a supervised visitation for the grandparents. Tell them they can see the children provided they treat you civilly and behave appropriately. You will be present the entire time, and if they say or do anything untoward, that ends the visit. This allows the kids to see their grandparents, and it prevents the lies. In time, it may also heal some of the open wounds.

Dear Annie: No one could love animals more than I do. I have had pets all my life and have served on humane society boards. Having said this, let me ask all of you pet lovers this question: How would you feel if I walked into your house and relieved myself on your carpeting or hardwood floor?

This is an advisory to all those pet owners who take undisciplined animals into other people’s homes: Please don’t. It is neither right nor fair. Yes, Fluffy may be just too cute, but not when she is urinating on my rugs.

A home is frequently the largest investment most of us make, and having it damaged by undisciplined animals is just plain wrong. If you must travel with a pet that is not housebroken, use a portable cage or kennel to confine the animal. — Animal Lover

Dear Animal Lover: Many people consider their pets to be their children, but they would be appalled if a child were permitted to soil their carpet. We hope your letter will inspire them to be considerate when it comes to their animal companions.

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