DEAR ABBY: Does it make me a horrible daughter if I don't want to take my mother to visit my older sister who lives 90 miles away? According to my mother, it does. I have always taken her in the past, even when it was the last thing I wanted to do.
I was divorced for several years, but three years ago I married a wonderful man, and now I have a life. I suppose in the past my mother felt I had nothing better to do. When I act like I'd rather not go, she says things such as, "I'll be dead someday, and you won't have to bother with me." I hate that.
She also tries to drag my husband into the argument, saying he won't "let" me go, as if to suggest that I really want to go and it's his fault.
My husband says she's jealous that I have him in my life, and she feels like he's taken me from being at her beck and call. What do you think? -- FEELING GUILTY IN TENNESSEE
DEAR FEELING GUILTY: Your husband has keen insight. You're feeling guilty because your mother plasters on the guilt like a baker spreads frosting. If you are her only mode of transportation, perhaps it's time to suggest that if she wants a visit with your sister, your sister should pick her up -- or better yet, come to visit Mama.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Madison," became engaged a couple of months ago, and she and her fiance have set their wedding date for April of next year. My stepdaughter, "Brittany," who has been living with her boyfriend for years and has two kids with him, has just decided they will be getting married at the end of March 2007.
I find it very strange that all of a sudden a wedding is in the making. I suspect she has ulterior motives. We are planning an expensive wedding for Madison, which was already decided upon way before Brittany's wedding was even mentioned. Brittany is now expecting us to pay for it. What is our financial obligation? -- ANNOYED IN LAS VEGAS
DEAR ANNOYED: In light of the fact that Brittany has been living with her boyfriend for years and has already started a family, I do not understand her rush to beat your daughter to the finish line. It appears she's trying to upstage Madison -- and is not being subtle about it.
A wedding is a gift, not an obligation, on the part of parents. So please do not allow yourself to be intimidated into doing anything that is beyond your finances.
DEAR ABBY: My high school girlfriend and I were married after dating for 6 1/2 years. The marriage lasted less than a year because she was unfaithful.
About five months after the split, I began dating a fellow law student. It has been fantastic. In fact, we have spent only four nights apart since we made our relationship official.
How long should I wait between my divorce and proposing to my girlfriend? -- EAGER IN INDIANAPOLIS
DEAR EAGER: Once your divorce is final, there's no reason why you can't propose to your girlfriend as soon as you wish. However, I would caution you to hold off on marrying quickly.
Theoretically, this romance could be considered "on the rebound." You have spent very little time in your life unattached. If you're smart enough for law school, you should understand the wisdom of allowing this enjoyable relationship to ripen until you and she are both confident it will last a lifetime. Time is on your side, so please don't rush it.
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