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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Still Marks Anniversary of Marriage Ending in Divorce

DEAR ABBY: My parents were separated for most of my life and divorced 10 years ago. Dad and I don't talk much, but we do get together for special occasions and visits during vacations. Mom and I speak frequently and see each other as often as possible.

My problem is, when I talk about doing things with Dad, she makes me feel guilty for not inviting her -- even when my family is going to stay the night at Dad's. And every year on the date of their anniversary, Mom never fails to remind me how long they would have been married that year. It's uncomfortable, and I have told her that, but every year I get the call wondering why I haven't acknowledged their anniversary.

Am I wrong in thinking it's strange to wish someone happy anniversary when the couple is no longer together and hasn't been for a decade? Am I wrong for not inviting her along for the few visits with my dad? I'm at the point where I avoid talking about him, but I can't lie when I'm asked directly what our plans are. How can I stop these uncomfortable conversations? -- UNCOMFORTABLE IN THE SOUTH

DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Please stop letting your mother make you feel guilty. You have done nothing wrong. She is acting like she's still married to your father and their divorce is simply a "vacation" he has taken.

If she asks if she can come with you when you visit your dad, an appropriate response would be to suggest she ask him that question. And her expecting to be congratulated for the anniversary of a marriage that failed strikes me as bizarre. Because these conversations make you uncomfortable, change the subject or talk with her another time.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Marriage & Divorce | Holidays & Celebrations