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by Abigail Van Buren

Bride Fears Ex's Demand Will Cast Pall on Wedding

DEAR ABBY: In the next couple of weeks -- after the mandatory one-year separation -- my divorce will be final. During this past year, I finally told my best friend, whom I wanted to marry in the first place, how I feel about him. He responded with great joy and told me he has felt the same way about me for many years. We are extremely happy together. He loves spending time with me doing the same things I enjoy, which is the basis of our friendship. He loves my daughter and has similar goals and dreams to mine. My relationship with him is the exact opposite of the one I had with my ex-husband.

My problem is my ex wants to give me away at my next wedding. When I told him I wanted our 20-month-old toddler to walk down the aisle with me, he said no because he wants to be the one to do it. Then he added that it's his "right" to give me away since he's my husband. My fiance and I don't even want my ex to attend because we're afraid he will cause trouble. He's angry with my fiance because he was the best man when my ex and I married.

I am considering allowing him to walk me down the aisle, because our daughter might want him at the wedding even though he rarely sees her.

I feel guilty not wanting my ex at the wedding, but I will finally be marrying the man I wish I'd married in the first place, and I want that day to be fun and happy.

What do you think about my ex's demand, Abby? -- CONFUSED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

DEAR CONFUSED: At the time of your wedding, your former husband will no longer be your husband, and his claim that he has the "right" to give you away is ludicrous. Don't let him pull the wool over your eyes.

Since your daughter doesn't often see her father, she probably won't miss him on your wedding day.

Don't feel guilty for not wanting your ex at your wedding. I have a hunch that one of the reasons you divorced him was his controlling behavior. Don't take the chance that he could do anything to spoil your wedding. Definitely omit him from the guest list.

DEAR ABBY: Regarding the letter from the "Cozy Couple in California" who hates single beds, I'm reminded of our first visit to our son and daughter-in-law's newly purchased home.

The guest room was furnished with twin beds. Before retiring, my husband and I maneuvered them together across the short span of hardwood floor.

Trying to get settled, we reached toward each other for a good-night snuggle. The beds parted, and I landed on the floor between the beds. Thank heavens I wasn't hurt.

After a good laugh, my resourceful husband (sadly, now deceased) found his socks and tied the legs of the beds together to make a luxurious king-size bed. -- MARIAN IN LAKE ALFRED, FLA.

DEAR MARIAN: I admire his resourcefulness, and your ability to "bounce back" with humor after hitting the floor.

DEAR ABBY: Is it ever proper for a mother and/or an aunt to walk the bride down the aisle? -- ALL-FEMALE FAMILY

DEAR ALL: Certainly. It's usually done when the father is absent or deceased and no male figure is as close to the bride as the mother or aunt.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, 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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