DEAR ABBY: I need some advice about how to talk to my father. I'm getting married soon and do not want him to give me away at the wedding ceremony.
He left when I was about 2 years old and came back into the picture again when I was 16. The man who was more like a father to me, and still is, is my grandfather. He is the person I would like to ask to give me away.
I haven't been able to come up with a diplomatic way of telling my father how I feel. I'm not even sure I want him at my wedding. He knows I don't value him as a daughter should value a father and has made several attempts to redeem himself in my eyes. However, I am far from impressed.
Since I am sadly lacking communication skills, will you please help me? -- LISA IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR LISA: You communicate your feelings better than you think you do. May I suggest a compromise? Ask both your father and your grandfather to walk you down the aisle, one on each arm. There is no reason to hurt either man on your special day. In years to come you will be happy you made the gesture. The alternative is to walk down the aisle alone.
DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Still Crying in Fairmont," whose fiance, "Mike," rejected her after she had spent a year caring for his sick mother, really hit home with me. I was asked to come to Colorado from the Northwest to help a man who had some development property. "Cary's" affairs were in a mess. He hired me, and I tried to straighten everything out. He promised to pay me after everything was taken care of. Like Mike, Cary pledged eternal fidelity and promised we'd have a wonderful life together. I worked long hours every day for six years for him.
Cary received some death threats, and I even risked my life for him. I protected him because I believed him. I spent 18 months in prison because I refused to testify against him. Guess what? When I was released, I came home and found he was living with another woman! He told me he had never cared about me, and has since tried to make me look like the bad guy.
I have cried a bucket of tears and am ashamed for having been taken in. My life has been torn apart, and I ended up with post-traumatic stress syndrome. I finally realized that Cary has done this to people all his life. Well, enough was enough! I sued him for what he owes me. No judgment has been rendered, but I do have a trial date.
Abby, men like Mike and Cary are the worst criminals of all. Not only do they take everything you have, they break your heart.
I have been sick emotionally and physically, and cannot seem to get over it and have turned to God for his guidance. -- DEVASTATED IN DENVER
DEAR DEVASTATED: You have my sympathy. There is give- and-take in all relationships, but it's supposed to be a two-way street. It's clear from your letter that you did all the giving and Cary did all the taking.
I'm pleased that you are finding comfort in God. I can't think of a more potent combination than God and a good lawyer. I hope you nail the buzzard.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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