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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband's First Marriage Is a Shock to His Widow

DEAR ABBY: My husband recently passed away, and among his papers I discovered evidence of another previous marriage. It came as a shock because he had never told me.

Should I ask his family how long this previous marriage lasted, or should I let it go and be grateful for the good and loving husband he was during our 27 years together? He was a widower with no kids and I was a widow when we met. What do you think? -- NUMBER THREE IN ARIZONA

DEAR NUMBER THREE: Your husband may have been divorced from wife No. 1, or the marriage could have been annulled and he didn't think it "counted." While I agree that you should be grateful for the 27 happy years you spent together, I can't ignore the fact that such an important piece of information was withheld from you. If you have questions and think the family can answer them, you are entitled to know.

Read more in: Death | Marriage & Divorce

Estranged Sister Reaches Out After Mother's Death

DEAR ABBY: My sister is difficult, and our relationship has been extremely rocky over the years. She insists upon doling out unsolicited advice and asking pointed personal questions about my finances, health, sex life, etc. I have told her more than once that these things are none of her business unless I choose to discuss them. Her response is she's "only trying to help."

Our mother died six months ago and my sister is again making overtures. I'm hesitant about speaking with her again because she's so volatile. I'll do it only if she respects my boundaries.

I am searching for the right words to tell her a relationship will work only if both parties respect each other, and that trust has to be earned. I'd appreciate any suggestions. -- GUARDED SIBLING IN FLORIDA

DEAR GUARDED SIBLING: Please accept my condolences for the loss of your mother. I am unclear as to why you would want to accept the overtures from someone with whom you have such a difficult relationship. However, because you feel that it would be possible under your terms, my advice is to write her a letter and tell her you will be willing to try only under the circumstances you described to me. To do so would not be rude, and it will be interesting to see if she is able to comply.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death

Wedding Website Can Help Bride With Her Thank-You Notes

DEAR ABBY: I'm being married next year and want to make sure I send written thank-you notes to everyone. I have been a diligent thank-you note writer for years.

Can you tell me what's the best way to get everyone's address? I have had problems with this in the past. I hate having to call and ask because the people always want to know why I want the information. Would it be OK to have as part of the wedding website a place where guests who attend can confirm their mailing address? -- BRIDE-TO-BE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR BRIDE-TO-BE: How do you plan to invite your guests to the wedding? Most brides send their invitations via U.S. mail, which requires the person's name, address and ZIP code on the envelope.

However, if you plan to issue your invitations online, then I see no reason you can't ask your guests to confirm their information on your wedding site. It wouldn't be a breach of etiquette.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics

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