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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: For quite a long time now, when certain situations arise, I ask myself, "What would Dear Abby say?" I would like to address this situation:

Before I was married, I visited my parents (they live nearby) several times a week. Now I am married -- with new friends, wanting to spend time with my husband and also visit my other siblings. This means that my husband and I don't visit my parents as much.

The problem? I feel guilty for not spending more time with them. My mother makes comments like, "Oh, we haven't seen you for months!" (Not true, Abby; we see them at least twice a month.)

I know that we are only as guilty as we make ourselves feel, but I would like to know, in Dear Abby's opinion, how often is often enough to visit parents? They don't seem to understand that there are other people in my life now, and working every day makes me tired at the end of the day and weekends are precious. Any comments? -- FEELING GUILTY

DEAR GUILTY: No one can "make" you feel guilty without your permission.

Your reasons for seeing less of your parents now are legitimate, so when you mother "reminds" you that your visits are less frequent, don't apologize (like a child); explain to her -- as you did to me -- that there are other people in your life now, and working every day is very tiring and weekends are precious.

DEAR ABBY: My brother's son is getting married soon in Chicago. The number of family on the groom's side will be limited, as none of us live in Chicago. We will have to fly in the night before in order to attend the wedding, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. We will not be able to leave for home the day of the wedding because there are no evening flights.

So -- after the airfare, hotel for two nights, meals, car rental, etc. -- the wedding will cost each of us well over $700, not including the gift.

I have just found out that the groom's family will not be invited to the rehearsal dinner, even though we are all from out of town. (There will be only six or eight of us.)

We are very hurt to think that we will be left alone in a hotel in a strange city after all of the effort and expense we will go through to attend this wedding.

Don't tell us it is our choice to go or not. We know that, but his wife would never forgive us if we didn't come, and besides, we really want to be there to see this nephew married.

Please try to explain why my brother and his wife are excluding us from the rehearsal dinner. It can't be the cost -- they can well afford a few more dinners. What do the etiquette books say? -- HURT IN NEW YORK

DEAR HURT: I don't know why your brother and his wife are excluding you from the rehearsal dinner if -- as you say -- they can well afford it.

The etiquette books say that all out-of-town guests should be invited to the rehearsal dinner, which is traditionally hosted by the groom or his family.

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