Fighting exes cause trouble
Dear Annie: Ten years ago, just before our 20th anniversary, my husband said he wanted to "separate for a while." Actually, he wanted a divorce and was not interested in doing anything to save our marriage. He didn't want to tell our teenage daughters until the deed was done. Then he lost his job, so we were stuck together for another two years of misery. During this time, he convinced our daughters that they didn't have to listen to anything I said, because I was "inflexible."
Finally, I moved out. Now I think I shouldn't have left the house, because it looked like I initiated the divorce. I thought the girls would feel welcome in both homes, but it didn't work out that way. They stayed with Dad. I remarried three years ago, and my daughters did not attend the wedding.
My girls are now grown adults, and their birthdays are next week. Their father has invited me to join them for a birthday dinner, but my husband was not invited. Part of me thinks my children should come first, but the other part says they're old enough to accept my husband and allow us to celebrate together. Every holiday, I've been torn between my husband and my daughters. I'm beginning to hate these events. What should I do? Mom and Wife
Dear Mom and Wife: Of course your daughters are old enough to know better, but they are still little children when it comes to their parents. Please do what you can to maintain a relationship with them, even if that includes a birthday dinner without your husband and splitting holiday events. And be sure to let your husband know how much you appreciate his cooperation and understanding.
Dear Annie: As matron-of-honor, I am planning a wedding shower for a bride who lives on the opposite coast from her family. Approximately 30 ladies live in the town where we are located and will be invited to the shower. However, the bride also wants me to send invitations to 120 other friends and family members who live on the opposite coast -- none of whom will be able to attend.
I don't feel it is appropriate to send invitations to these people, but the bride insists they would be offended if they are not notified of the shower and given the opportunity to send a gift.
If we don't send shower invitations, am I expected to send another type of announcement? I really want to do what is correct, but this seems a bit much. Anxious
Dear Anxious: A shower is intended to be an intimate gathering. It is inappropriate to invite people who live 2,000 miles away. It is OK to send an invitation to Mom and Grandma, because they would want to know, but not 120 miscellaneous acquaintances. That comes across as trolling for gifts, and we hope you can convince the bride not to do it. (No announcement of a shower is necessary.)
Dear Annie: Unbelievable! I read "Alpena's" story about her new husband who was physically and verbally abusive to her children. I am on staff at a crisis center, and every day, I see mothers who choose husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends and convenience over keeping their children.
First, Alpena and her ex-husband should read up on child abuse laws. In 18 states, anyone who knows of, or suspects, child abuse and does not report it is breaking the law. Second, Alpena needs to know that abuse is all about control. Now that she has removed the kids from her husband's grip, he will seek out something else to control, and I'll bet Alpena will be visiting an E.R. very soon.
She needs to get to the nearest Crisis Center for Domestic Violence and get help. And she needs the prayers of us all. Roger Pharr, Director of Development, Crisis Center of Anderson & amp; Cherokee Counties, Jacksonville, Texas
Dear Roger Pharr: We hope that woman, and anyone else walking in similar shoes, sees your letter and takes action.
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