DEAR ABBY: I recently began dating a dear friend of two years I'll call "Harry." We have discussed marriage, and he is keenly interested in having children. He was married to his ex-wife for 18 years and they had no children.
Abby, Harry's close relationship with his ex is making me uncomfortable. She lives five minutes away and they socialize at least twice a week. He had fought the divorce, but says he's relieved the two of them remain friendly.
I love Harry dearly, but I have told him I think that I -- not his ex -- should be his best friend. He gently told me that is out of the question, and I can expect her to attend all family holiday celebrations and other functions.
We ended our relationship as amicably as possible after he said his ex-wife laughed at my not wanting to be part of his "harem." I am devastated. Was I unreasonable? -- WOUNDED IN HOUSTON
DEAR WOUNDED: Not at all. You have my sympathy, and you were right to end the romance. Harry is still too emotionally tied to his ex-wife to be married to anyone else. And she knows that, which is why she laughed.
DEAR ABBY: I am beginning the process of planning my 20th high school reunion. Last spring, one of my classmates died after a heroic battle with cancer. He was well-loved by his friends and family, and I am wondering if we should invite his widow to the reunion. She did not go to our high school, but many of my classmates know her through her husband and I think they would appreciate her being there.
I am hesitating because I'm unsure whether it would be appropriate to invite her, and also how I can ensure that the experience won't be awkward. Do you think it's a good idea to invite her? -- WONDERING IN SEATTLE
DEAR WONDERING: To invite your late classmate's wife would be a caring gesture. She might be touched that you wanted to include her. Send the invitation with a personal note telling her you would welcome seeing her -- but do not be surprised if she chooses not to attend.
P.S. If she doesn't, send her a copy of the program for that evening with recent pictures of his former classmates, and if there's a tribute page, be sure her late husband's name is included on it.
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating the same wonderful man nearly a year now. Although we are not yet engaged, we are headed in that direction and are already discussing wedding plans.
His mother, whom I adore, has offered to make my wedding gown. I am ecstatic at the prospect, but I have a question: Should I offer to pay for the material or just accept this generous gift? -- PRE-ENGAGED IN GULFPORT, MISS.
DEAR PRE-ENGAGED: If your boyfriend's mother is not only embracing you but measuring you for a wedding dress, I'd say you're further along than "pre-"engaged. And what a marvelous gift she is offering. By all means offer to pay for the material -- but I have a strong suspicion that she'll refuse to accept any money. From your description, she is a sweetheart.
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.)