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by Abigail Van Buren

Cousin's Wedding Invitation Brings Back Painful Past

DEAR ABBY: A male cousin sent me an invitation to his wedding. I have met his fiancee a few times at family reunions and weddings, and she seems very sweet. The problem is my cousin sexually abused me for many years when I was younger. I have no desire to attend his wedding.

Am I obligated to send a card or a gift? I don't want his fiancee to think I don't like her, but it makes me sick to think of celebrating his marriage after what he did. What do I say when other family members ask why I'm not going? Am I obligated to tell her what he did? -- NEEDS TO KNOW IN TEXAS

DEAR NEEDS TO KNOW: A young man who sexually abuses someone "for years" is a predator. And while the news may not be greeted warmly, you should say something to your cousin's fiancee before she marries him.

You could benefit from talking to a counselor who specializes in sexual abuse to make sure the effects of what happened to you don't affect you in the future. The counselor can help you decide what to do from there. If you don't attend the wedding, you are under no obligation to send a gift or a card.