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by Abigail Van Buren

Bride Fears Bridesmaid Adds Too Much Color to Wedding

DEAR ABBY: Seven years ago, my husband, "John," had an affair that resulted in the birth of a child. Although it was difficult, John and I stayed together and our marriage is better than ever.

My husband supports "Talia" financially and sees her whenever he can. The adults have all managed to create a cordial, working relationship for Talia's sake.

Talia spends a few weeks with us during school breaks. When I go out with her and run into acquaintances, they'll ask, "Who's this?" I will give her name, but sometimes they press for more. Many of our friends know we've been married for a long time with only one child together. (Our daughter is in college.)

My question is -- is Talia my stepdaughter? Is there a simple way of answering these questions without making anyone uncomfortable, especially Talia? -- PART-TIME MOMMY

DEAR PART-TIME MOMMY: Yes. Talia is your stepdaughter, and you can introduce her that way or refer to her as John's daughter. Either would be correct.