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by Abigail Van Buren

Son Thinks Dad's Obituary Leaves Out Important Survivor

DEAR ABBY: My father just passed away. He was a pastor. He and Mom were married 40 years, but their relationship became very strained during the last 10. Counseling was unsuccessful and they divorced 15 years ago. Dad was hurt and humiliated by it. Mom felt she had to escape a marriage that was killing her emotionally.

I received a draft of Dad's obituary from my two siblings. It mentions all surviving relatives except my mother, who is still alive and living in the same town where she and Dad spent most of their lives together. I feel omitting her is a slap in the face, but my sister says that because they were divorced, Mom "deserves" no mention. What is protocol in such a situation? -- SURVIVING SON IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SON: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your father. While your sister may have said it in a way that seemed judgmental, she is technically correct. After a couple divorces and one of them dies, the name of the former spouse is usually not mentioned in the obituary.

DEAR ABBY: I had a suspicion that my wife's attentiveness to a neighbor was more than casual. He's a womanizer who boasts about his extramarital affairs to anyone who will listen.

I noticed some marks on my wife's body, and when I asked how she'd gotten them, her response was evasive. I found it so off-putting that I installed surveillance cameras in our house.

The cameras revealed in detail what has been going on. Our family and friends think my wife is prim and proper. It turns out she is anything but. In fact, I'm no longer sure I fathered our children.

Would it be wrong to send copies of her video activities to everyone so they can see who she really is? -- SAD AND ANGRY IN EAST TEXAS

DEAR ANGRY: No one would blame you if you ended the marriage, but for your children's sake, do not yield to the temptation to get even with your wife in this way. Making the tapes public could cause them emotional harm. Talk to a lawyer. Have genetic tests run to determine your children's paternity, but do not make the tapes public.

DEAR ABBY: I'm 17. My girlfriend of eight months and I have an incredible relationship, but something is eating at me. She often mentions things she did with her past boyfriends. It's not like she's telling stories about the "good old days," but the fact that I hear their names in everyday conversation bothers me.

I want to be understanding because these guys were a big part of her life when they were in it. But I'm tired of hearing their current whereabouts or what they used to talk about. How can I get her to leave the past behind? -- IN THE "NOW" IN ALAMEDA, CALIF.

DEAR IN THE "NOW": Your girlfriend may not be aware of what she's doing and the effect it has on you. Tell her how her constant reminders of past relationships make you feel. If she cares about your feelings, she'll stop doing it.

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