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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple's Secret Wedding Leaves Family in the Dark

DEAR ABBY: My older brother "Mike" was married several months ago. The family was informed after the fact. Mike and his bride, "Sophie," didn't elope. They had planned their church wedding for the better part of a year, and decided to include only a small group of friends while completely excluding the family. Naturally, this has caused hurt feelings. As far as I'm concerned, I have lost a sibling rather than gained one.

Mike and Sophie are now throwing themselves a party in their honor to celebrate their union. My mother not only wants me to attend, but expects me to give them a gift as well. Mom says he is "family" and therefore I am obligated to give a gift. I say I wasn't invited to their wedding so I'm under no obligation to give one. I have no desire to reward someone who thinks so little of me. What do you say? -- LEFT OUT SIBLING IN WISCONSIN

DEAR LEFT OUT SIBLING: If you haven't already done so, tell your brother how hurt you feel to have not been invited to his wedding, then listen to what he has to say. Give him a chance to mend fences. If that doesn't happen, then skip the celebration. But remember that if you don't attend, the rift that has been created may never be healed.

DEAR ABBY: I am a high school senior who is worried about leaving my older sister. "Jamie" is 10 years older and moved back home with my parents and me after she finished college. She takes medication because of her anxiety and stays in her room most of the time.

In the six years that Jamie has lived here she has made no friends or acquaintances. I believe I'm the only person she has a relationship with other than her therapist. As I spend more time on schoolwork and projects and less time with her, she feels ignored and becomes desperate to spend time with me. I feel I'm her only link to the outside world. I'm worried that when I move away she'll lose that connection and not make any attempts to find a relationship or a job.

I care deeply about Jamie, but I want to go to college. How can I help her to get moving? -- MY SISTER'S KEEPER IN ILLINOIS

DEAR SISTER'S KEEPER: I can think of two ways. The first is to not allow your sister's mental disorder -- because that is what you are describing -- to keep you from going to college and having a life. Your sister has your parents, so she won't be all alone. The second is to write a letter to her therapist explaining your concerns. If anyone can help your sister, it is her therapist.

DEAR ABBY: I have a friend from school who is very close to me. I only get to see her at lunch at school. We have managed to keep our friendship going through e-mails and sleepovers.

However, she is often not available for sleepovers, and when she is, she must always leave at 12 a.m.! I know it's not just me because other friends of hers have said this, too. Once I asked her why she had to leave so early and she said it was her mom.

Why do you think her mom is so adamant about early endings? -- WONDERING IN ATLANTA

DEAR WONDERING: It's probably because your friend's curfew ends at midnight or a little after, and her mother hasn't given her permission to attend all-night sleepovers. But if you want to be sure -- have your mother ask her mother.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)