03/31/2005DEAR ABBY: I am 19. Last year I made the biggest mistake of my life. My then-boyfriend persuaded me to marry him. We got the marriage license one day and were married the next. Nobody in my family knew about it. I really didn't want to do it, but I was having some problems at the time, and he hinted that he would never talk to me again if I didn't. We broke up in May.
He is not a U.S. citizen and has never lived here. He has since gone back to his country and hasn't returned to the states.
For the last three months, I have been seeing the most wonderful guy of my life. I'd like to get a divorce and move on, but I'm a full-time college student with no money, and my family doesn't have any money either. I found a site that was featured in the media that can help me with the divorce for little money, but my ex refuses to sign anything. I just want to get rid of him after the stuff he put me through, but I don't know where to go. -- "MARRIED" IN NEWBURGH, N.Y.
DEAR "MARRIED": Because of the circumstance of your marriage, it may not be possible to end it without the help of an attorney. Because you can't afford one, I recommend that you get a part-time job and save money for a consultation. With help, you may be able to get the marriage annulled.
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Jon," and I are newlyweds. We bought and restored a house. Jon did most of the work himself. My mother-in-law, "Marjorie," who is understandably proud of her son, has taken to showing off our house -- but here's the hitch. She gives no warning beforehand; she just shows up on the front steps with people I've never met. (The first time Marjorie did it was the day Jon and I were leaving for our honeymoon.)
Abby, Marjorie parades these people into our kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, even our closets! If I ask her to please skip our office because it's a mess, she says, "Oh, just give them a look," and barges right in.
I have telephoned and asked her politely to please give me a little warning before bringing people to tour the house. Still, she shows up expecting to be let in with yet another stranger in tow.
The last time it happened, after a cue from me, Marjorie acknowledged that she knows I don't like when she does it, yet she continues. Jon is so nonconfrontational, he's no help controlling her. What can I do? -- VIOLATED AND ANGRY
DEAR VIOLATED AND ANGRY: Your mother-in-law continues to do this because your feelings are not important to her. The next time it happens, refuse to open the door to admit her.
DEAR ABBY: Our daughter is marrying a man who lives in another state. The groom's parents have invited 30 members of their family to attend the wedding. They'll be paying for their own lodgings at a local hotel, as well as their airline transportation.
Are we obligated to pay for transportation from the hotel to the church and reception, and the return trip to the hotel for the groom's family? We think renting a bus to transport the group would be more economical than multiple rental cars for the evening. My question is, who should be responsible for this cost? -- FATHER OF THE BRIDE
DEAR FATHER: Providing transportation would be a gracious gesture. However, if it will create a financial hardship, consider asking the groom's parents to split the cost of renting the bus.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)