Dear Abby: I have been married for 37 years. During that time, my husband has cheated on me and fathered several children.
As we have grown older, I have begun to think about final arrangements. If he dies, would I be wrong for not giving him a funeral or memorial service or having one for his sisters and brothers? I feel it would be disrespectful to me if the children that resulted from his affairs, and possibly their mothers, were there. Although my daughters love their father, I believe they would support my decisions. – Angry Wife in Georgia
Dear Angry Wife: You are under no obligation to have a funeral or memorial for your cheating husband. If his sisters, brothers, mistresses and their children would like to give him one, they can assume the responsibility. If you still feel the way you do today after his demise, you, your daughters and some close friends of yours can go out for a nice lunch or dinner to acknowledge the occasion.
P.S. Devil’s food cake for dessert would be appropriate.
Dear Abby: My parents divorced 10 years ago, when I was a freshman in college. My mom didn’t want the divorce. My dad initiated it, but they fought constantly when they were together. Not long afterward, Dad started a relationship with a co-worker, his current wife, whom my mom believes was the reason he left her.
I am getting married at the end of the year, and I know Mom won’t be able to keep her emotions in check if Dad’s wife attends. My parents can keep it amicable if it’s just them, but I can’t see a way to exclude Dad’s wife without upsetting him. What’s the less-painful option – my mom getting upset or my dad getting upset? – Wants Family Harmony
Dear Wants: Talk to your mother. Explain that you want your wedding to be inclusive and you don’t want this special day to be spoiled. If she feels she won’t be able to control her anger, she shouldn’t attend. To invite your father and not his wife will be regarded as an insult, and he would likely refuse to be a part of it.
Dear Abby: I married a man 24 years ago. At the time, I had a daughter who was 6. My new husband welcomed her, and she considers him to be her father. His parents, however, never considered her as their own. They took several family trips with all their grandkids but excluded my daughter.
Fast-forward to today: My daughter lives in another state. These nieces and nephews all have kids, as does my daughter. Every birthday and Christmas, I buy said nieces’ and nephews’ kids presents, but I assume because my daughter lives in a different state, no one buys her kids anything. Is it wrong that this upsets me? Should I continue buying gifts for all those kids when my daughter’s kids are being left out? – Left out in Illinois
Dear Left Out: You are not wrong. Considering the circumstances, you have been more than generous. Because your nieces and nephews are adults now, send them cards for the holidays. The same is true for their children. And if you are asked why, tell them the truth – that gift-giving is supposed to be an exchange, and your daughter was seriously shortchanged.