Dear Abby: Please help with some advice regarding my children. My almost-ex-wife filed for divorce while asking me to "work on myself." She refused counseling despite our 17 years of marriage and two children, ages 12 and 10. While I was out of our family home — at her request — she was dating a married (unemployed) man who has a child of his own. Our daughter eventually told me what was going on, which was very hard for her.

My wife then moved into a rental house. She and the boyfriend are still legally married because the divorces aren't final. Now she's imposing him on our children at the rental house. She also brings him to their sporting events even though it makes the children and other team parents uncomfortable. Is it appropriate that she expose our kids to her dating situation? — STAY CLASSY IN THE WEST

Dear Stay Classy: Nothing you or I can say to your almost-ex is going to change what she's doing. And no, what has been going on with her and her lover is not "appropriate."

Please continue to be as supportive of your children as you can be. You should also talk to your lawyer about their custody, because your wife is going to have her hands full supporting this new man in her life, which may mean she has less time to spend with them.

Dear Abby: I'm an 11-year-old girl. I just started middle school (sixth grade). The girls in my class have been together since pre-K.

Although I'm new to the school, I knew two of the girls from before. They are very nice and have accepted me. The problem is that they are the "leaders" of two separate groups. During my lunch/recess they each want me to sit with them. How do I do this without hurting any feelings? — NEW KID AT SCHOOL

Dear New Kid: As you said, you are new to the school. For the time being, alternate sitting with each group. Be friendly to everyone, regardless of which group they belong to. And while you're at it, do the same with classmates who aren't members of either group. In time, you will figure out where you are more comfortable.

Dear Abby: I have a set of china I inherited from my mother. I don't have children, and my niece and nephew (brother's side) are estranged from the family. My brother has been raising his now 14-year-old granddaughter from infancy. Have you any ideas on what to do with the dishes? — UNSURE IN CALIFORNIA

Dear Unsure: Yes, I do. In the past I have received letters from frustrated readers telling me they offered treasured family items — china, crystal, antique furniture — to young relatives, only to have them refused because "they weren't their style." Because the china has sentimental value for you, why don't YOU start using it? However, if it isn't your style either, consider selling or donating it.

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.

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