Bride-to-be plans to walk down aisle solo af­ter dad's death

The Progress-Index Weekend - - AMUSEMENTS - Jeanne Phillips Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I are talk­ing mar­riage soon, and I’m al­ready stress­ing over who will walk me down the aisle.

I al­ways planned for it to be my dad, but he passed away a month ago. Mom re­mar­ried when I was young, but I have never had a close re­la­tion­ship with my step­dad. He men­tioned years ago that he’d like to walk me down the aisle one day, but I hon­estly would rather he didn’t. I don’t want to hurt his feel­ings or strain our re­la­tion­ship, but I also don’t want to feel like I am re­plac­ing Daddy, who I was very close with.

Is it taboo to walk down the aisle alone? Or must I just suck it up and walk with my step­dad for the sake of not hurt­ing his feel­ings? —

MAR­RIAGE IN MIN­NEAPO­LIS DEAR MAR­RIAGE:

Brides can (and should) walk down the aisle with the com­pan­ion of their choice. When the bride’s fa­ther is de­ceased, the es­cort can be her mother or a close male rel­a­tive. I have also heard of brides es­corted down the aisle by their ca­nine com­pan­ion, which proves that al­though they say a dog is man’s best friend, it can also be a woman’s.

You are not ob­li­gated to have any­one walk you to the al­tar be­cause the per­son asks. If your step­fa­ther re­peats his re­quest, tell him the truth — that it would be too hurt­ful be­cause it would feel like he was re­plac­ing your fa­ther, some­thing no one can ever do. You should also know that th­ese days some women feel be­ing “given away” is an anachro­nis­tic cus­tom, and make their way alone to join their groom at the al­tar.

DEAR ABBY: My hus­band and my mother had a good re­la­tion­ship be­fore we were mar­ried. But since our wed­ding two years ago, he com­plains about her non­stop while point­ing out ways that I am like her. My brothers feed into it, too. They of­ten have long con­ver­sa­tions to­gether de­tail­ing her “many” neg­a­tive qual­i­ties.

Re­cently, while we were vis­it­ing my par­ents’ home, Mom over­heard my hus­band say very crit­i­cal things about her. She got up­set and kind of shut down emo­tion­ally and so­cially for the rest of the visit. We both apol­o­gized to her sep­a­rately, but she said she was tired of be­ing crit­i­cized and tired of him be­ing mean to me as well.

I have a his­tory of de­pres­sion. My hus­band and I have tried coun­sel­ing mul­ti­ple times, with no progress be­cause he feels our prob­lems are “my re­spon­si­bil­ity.” My hus­band is a good per­son, but it hurts me to see my mother up­set and to have the two most im­por­tant peo­ple in my life so at odds. Ad­vice? — TORN IN NE­BRASKA

DEAR TORN:

I’m glad to of­fer some, but first you will have to ac­cept that “good” hus­bands don’t act like yours does. If there are things he doesn’t like about your mother, he should take them up with her di­rectly, not be­hind her back the way he did. I don’t blame her for feel­ing hurt. How else was she sup­posed to re­spond?

What your hus­band did was de­struc­tive, not help­ful. The same is true for the way he treats you. Coun­sel­ing hasn’t worked be­cause of his un­will­ing­ness to ac­cept any re­spon­si­bil­ity for your prob­lems as a cou­ple. My ad­vice is to talk to a li­censed ther­a­pist on your own, which will help you to see your sit­u­a­tion more clearly than you ap­pear to do.

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