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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Kyle," and I decided to elope two weeks ago. His mother and mine had both said they'd be fine with an elopement. My sister and Kyle's brother were our witnesses -- other than that it was just us.

When we told Kyle's family, they were elated and congratulated us on the spot. When I called my mother, she didn't say much. A couple of days later, I called to make plans to visit her, and she began telling me how many people I had "hurt" by eloping. Mom and I have always had problems communicating and she has a long history of holding me to a higher standard than my siblings. (My sister also eloped, and there were no hard feelings then.)

I am frustrated with Mom and the other members of my family who have chosen to be hurt rather than happy for us. I wouldn't have eloped if I hadn't received the green light from Mom earlier. I have sent out a letter of apology, but I am annoyed that it takes the place of a real wedding announcement. Please help. -- BAFFLED ALBUQUERQUE BRIDE

DEAR BAFFLED BRIDE: I'm sorry you sent a letter of apology instead of a wedding announcement. You did not have to. If questioned about your elopement, all you had to say was you had the blessing of both your mothers before you did it.

Your mom may be upset that she was not among the "chosen few" to be present when you said "I do" -- and her criticism now may be a reflection of it. You have a husband who loves you and at least one sibling with whom you are close. Treasure that and stop depending on your mother's approval, and you will be better off emotionally than you are right now.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Dwight" for a while now, and things are becoming more serious. Dwight has expressed a desire to make a trip several states away so I can meet his parents. We have even gone so far as discussing how we would handle religion if we have children. I have mixed feelings about the trip. I am both elated and terrified.

Dwight's father is a minister in a small town. My parents were not religious at all and neither am I. Dwight understands that, and he is fine with it.

When I meet his parents, I'm sure they will inevitably ask why I don't share their beliefs. How do I answer them honestly without offending them? -- NON-BELIEVER IN TENNESSEE

DEAR NON-BELIEVER: I see nothing offensive about explaining to them -- as you did to me -- that your parents were not religious and they didn't raise you to be.

DEAR ABBY: My best friend, "Keira," has been dating someone I dated for a short time. Although I was the one who ended the relationship, I still feel uncomfortable with her dating him. The guy means nothing to me and I have moved on to someone else, but it still bothers me.

I told Keira how I feel. She told me I need to be happy for her. It has been three weeks since we last spoke, and I just don't know what else to say. Should I end our friendship since she obviously doesn't care about my feelings? -- DISCONNECTED FRIEND IN OHIO

DEAR DISCONNECTED: You say Keira is your "best" friend. What about her feelings? You rejected the guy, which means (to me) that in some way he didn't measure up to your standards. Why begrudge Keira her happiness? Answer that question and you'll know whether this is really worth ending the friendship over.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)