DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband and I divorced a year ago. We share a 4-year-old son. Shortly after our divorce, he married a woman he had been carrying on an affair with while married to me. Since their wedding she has not allowed him to enter my home beyond the front door, be alone with me for any reason regardless of what we need to discuss, and he rarely calls to talk with our son anymore - all at her "request."

He has also informed me that she's "not comfortable" with the idea of us communicating unless she is part of the conversation. I explained to him that even though he may allow her to dictate his life, she will not be dictating mine. If I feel I need to speak with him about something, I do not have to include her. Am I wrong?

- Needs an Answer in Texas

DEAR NEEDS AN ANSWER: This is happening because she perceives you as still a threat. That your former husband allows her to exert this amount of control is unfortunate. The distancing from his son is happening because he is permitting it, and the loser here is the little boy.

You're not wrong, but if the only way your son can have a relationship with his dad is for this woman to be ever-present, then bite your tongue and go along with it for as long as this marriage lasts or your ex summons up enough backbone to set his No. 2 straight.

DEAR ABBY: My sisters and I look out for our "Aunt Lil," who is in her late 70s.

Our question: For most of her life, Aunt Lil has kept up a steady correspondence with many people all over the world. When the time comes and she is gone, how should we notify her friends?

- Aunt Lil's Girls

DEAR GIRLS: Considering that people live longer these days, I wouldn't write off Aunt Lil too quickly. Because she still has all her faculties, ask her how she wants it handled. She may prefer to write her own farewell note to be mailed after her death.