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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter Is Reluctant to Be Divorcing Mom's Confidante

DEAR ABBY: My mother and stepfather are divorcing after 30 years together. Mama has moved in with my husband, children and me. My stepfather is alone in their house and struggling to pay the bills.

The problem is Mama wants to confide in me and tell me all her troubles with "Donald." I told her I don't want to hear any of it because I don't want to end up hating him. Donald is my children's grandfather and the only father I have ever known. (There was no abuse involved in their marriage.)

Mother said I am her "best friend," and I should "be there" for her. Then she burst into tears and left. Was I wrong? I told her I support her in every way, but I don't think I should be the one she talks to about her failed marriage. I don't discuss their relationship with my stepdad either. Please tell me how to handle this. -- CAN'T LISTEN IN DELRAY BEACH, FLA.

DEAR CAN'T LISTEN: Please forgive the understatement, but the process of divorce is an extremely emotional one. Your mother may be trying to justify why she walked out and force you to take sides.

Encourage her to express her hurt and disappointment to her spiritual adviser. He or she is more qualified to guide your mom because there is no emotional involvement.

P.S. You are not only a caring daughter, but also a very intelligent one. Hang in there.