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by Abigail Van Buren

Verbal Wedding Invitation Requires Follow Through

DEAR ABBY: I am getting married in three months. A month ago, I verbally invited one of my co-workers, "Sandy," and asked her for her home address to send the invitation. Unfortunately, Sandy was "let go" last week under difficult circumstances. She was very upset.

I haven't spoken to Sandy since the day she left, but she's left me several voice-mail messages, which I have not returned.

I plan to send wedding invitations out soon to all of my co-workers, but under the circumstances, I don't know whether I should officially invite Sandy. I don't want her to feel uncomfortable. Your thoughts, please. -- WONDERING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR WONDERING: Since you asked for her address, and she knows why you asked, follow through and send the invitation. It's the right thing to do.

If your former co-worker is uncomfortable at the idea of seeing her old colleagues again, she'll decline your invitation.

DEAR ABBY: My husband just told my son and me that he has another son from a relationship he had when he was 17 -- before we met. The "new" son is in his early 40s.

My husband has informed me, after 35 years of marriage, that we are now "starting over" and must include this son in our lives. If I don't, we won't have a marriage.

My life is now consumed by my husband's guilt. All he talks about is this son he never wanted before. Why do my son and I feel we are being punished for his past? -- HEARTBROKEN IN VIRGINIA

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You and your son feel your territory has been invaded. You are not yet able to lower your defenses, open your hearts, and realize this isn't a competition -- the son your husband fathered at 17 needs to know the parent he never knew, and vice versa.

After all these years, your husband is now ready to make himself emotionally available. To adjust to this new reality, you and your son may need spiritual or psychological counseling to help you deal with your anger. Don't wait.

DEAR ABBY: I divorced four years ago and just married a wonderful man six months ago. I have a son who is 16. He and my new husband have a great relationship. My son has never been close to his natural father.

The problem is, my husband has taken a job 3 1/2 hours from home so he has had to move. I have remained behind so my son can finish school.

I know my son would like to graduate with his friends in 2003, but I would like us to be together as a family again.

Would it be selfish of me to move at the end of this school year? I want what's best for my son, but I really miss my mate in life. -- ALONE IN MISSOURI

DEAR ALONE: It is not selfish to want to be with your husband. Although your son may resist, he will adjust and make new friends during his junior and senior years at his new high school.

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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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