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Dear Amy: I have a thoughtful, successful 38-year-old stepdaughter. We have a good relationship and enjoy each other's company. I live abroad, so I only see her and her family once or twice a year.

The issue I am having is with her husband. He is completely anti-social and barely acknowledges my presence. I have learned not to take this personally because he treats everyone, including his own family, the same way. My stepdaughter says, "It is just the way he is."

I will be visiting them later this year and already am apprehensive. While I am visiting, I find his behavior so unpleasant that I find excuses to retire early. Is there another way for me to understand his behavior and make peace with it?

Amy says: It might help if you saw him as perhaps a shy or introverted person who doesn't initiate or actively participate in conversations, but is possibly listening or witnessing the family dynamic in his own way when he is present.

It might be helpful if you spoke with your stepdaughter ― or him — in order to make sure he is comfortable with you being a guest in their home. Ask for any suggestions for ways you might connect with him.

"Difficult" people lay down a challenge and test your tolerance, but also present an opportunity for you to grow. And if you can't grow, you can at least tell yourself that in order to stay connected with your stepdaughter, you will need to detach from his behavior.

Old wound still hurts

Dear Amy: About 20 years ago, I was at a dental appointment in a medical arts building when my dentist (like me, a female) asked if I had ever experienced sexual abuse during an exam from a doctor. I said, "Yes, and it happened in this building." She asked if it was "Dr. So and So," and I said yes. She told me she'd had a similar experience with this doctor.

This happened in the 1970′s, when I was about 20. Last year he died. When I read the obituary the memories came back. I know other women my age who had similar experiences with doctors when they were young. Thanks for letting me share this. This will help me to forget.

Amy says: This is horrific. I'm so sorry this happened to you.

I think it is extremely important that you have told your story, but I wonder if this really will help you to forget. I highly recommend that you speak to a counselor about this.

You could also contact the state medical licensing board to report this abuse. You can assume this doctor victimized other patients, and it might help you — and others — if you report this crime, even after the perpetrator's death. Seeking justice could inspire other survivors to come forward.

Amy Dickinson is stepping down at the end the month and will be replaced by R. Eric Thomas. Send him questions at