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by Abigail Van Buren

Bad News Comes Secondhand About Bride's Wedding Plans

DEAR ABBY: I am getting married soon. I grew up without a biological father. When I was younger, a man (I'll call him Tom) stepped into my life and has been like a father to me for almost two decades. I have gone on several family vacations with him and his family.

In preparation for the wedding, I asked Tom if he would walk me down the aisle. He agreed, and I was thrilled. Recently, he has commented to others that he thinks it is inappropriate since he is not my father and does not consider me family. I heard it from someone he had confided in who thought Tom had already spoken with me.

I am devastated and unsure how to react. Tom knows I know but has made no attempt to contact me to talk despite telling others he would. Should I reach out to him and ask why? Should I wait for his call? Should I let it go and move on? I feel like this pain has dampened the excitement of my upcoming wedding. Do you have any advice on how to move forward? -- FATHERLESS IN THE EAST

DEAR FATHERLESS: Staying silent will accomplish nothing. Pick up the phone, call Tom, tell him what you were told and ask if it is true because it may not be. Something may have been lost in translation.

If it IS true, however, remember: You are an independent young woman who can walk herself to the altar. Many women do that these days because they consider the act of being "given" in marriage to be outdated. You could also ask a close male or female friend or relative (your mom?) to accompany you.

Whether what you were told is true or not, thank Tom for the important role he has played in your life and express your gratitude and affection. Do not allow anything to cast a pall on your wedding day!