09/28/2010DEAR ABBY: In response to "Resentful in Michigan" (Aug. 2), I think you missed the mark. Etiquette and social mores may dictate that it's acceptable for a man to give his future daughter-in-law away, but "Resentful" was speaking from a place of pain that is valid.
Her father didn't walk her down the aisle because her mother's job was more important to them, which made her feel she was second to the job in her parents' hearts. Now her emotions are telling her that her brother's fiancee is more important as well.
If she doesn't speak her mind, her resentment could be redirected to her brother and his new family and cause irreparable damage. She should address this with her brother to help them understand that sitting and watching her dad walk another woman down the aisle under these circumstances would be devastating. The brother's fiancee could ask another relative to escort her -- or walk down alone since this is her third trip to the altar.
At least the father, while not understanding "Resentful's" pain, is taking her feelings into consideration. Now, if her brother and his fiancee will try to understand her feelings, they'll be validated and an amicable solution can be found. -- HEATHER IN RICHARDSON, TEXAS
DEAR HEATHER: You are not the only reader who disagreed with my response to that letter. I reasoned that the writer did not have the right to decide what role her father would or would not play in her brother's wedding. I also suspected that the reason her parents did not attend her wedding -- much less participate -- may have been they did not approve of the groom or the circumstances under which she was being married.
However, because many people felt my answer was insensitive to the writer's feelings, I'll share some reactions from readers:
DEAR ABBY: The father was "too busy" to walk her down the aisle but now he'd do it for his son's future wife? Her father didn't even offer an apology or try to understand. He said only that he wouldn't walk his son's fiancee down the aisle if "Resentful" was hurt by it. If he had apologized and admitted he was wrong not to have done it for his daughter, she could have forgiven him. I don't blame her for being resentful! -- ALONDRA IN LONDON, ONTARIO
DEAR ABBY: Speaking from personal experience, there are few things worse than being rejected by your parents. You should have rebuked them in the strongest possible way. To deny their daughter on her most important day, then grant the same privilege to an outsider (on her third wedding, no less) is the height of insensitivity. Her parents are horrible. Her feelings are normal, natural, justified and deserved validation. Shame on you for siding with the parents! -- PATRICK IN MESQUITE, NEV.
DEAR ABBY: That woman has every right to feel as she does. Her brother was selfish for not considering his sister's deep disappointment on the biggest day of her life. As a minister, I encourage family members to work through their hurts with each other. But forcing someone to pretend all is well when it isn't doesn't help the healing process. It could drive the family even further apart. -- PAUL T. IN NEW YORK
DEAR ABBY: I have a suggestion. Since the brother's fiancee is on her third marriage, why not ask one of her ex-husbands to give her away. I'm sure he'd be happy to. -- JOANNE IN WATERTOWN, WIS.
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.
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