DEAR ABBY: I'm engaged to be married to a wonderful woman who has a 6-year-old daughter with her ex-husband. They share joint custody.
His controlling nature was a major factor in her decision to end their marriage. Even now, after being divorced more than two years, he tries to control her life. One way is by insisting on pictures of the three of them at every function where they are all present. First day of school, graduations, etc., he has to have pictures taken of him along with my fiancee and their daughter as if they are still one big, happy family.
He's now engaged to someone as well. I can only assume his fiancee must find these "not a family" pictures as strange as my fiancee and I do. The reason we haven't shut him down when he insists on these pictures is that we think maybe it is a nice thing for her daughter to have pictures of herself with her mom and dad. But we dread every event because we know he is going to expect this. Will it do the daughter any harm to stop him the next time he starts insisting on this increasingly awkward situation? — IN THE PICTURE, TOO
DEAR PICTURE: Because this practice made your fiancee uncomfortable, she should have put a stop to it when it began. She should not do anything that makes her uncomfortable. A way to deal with it now without roiling the waters would be to wait until you and your fiancee are married – and her ex and his fiancee are married – and make it a group photo of the entire blended family from then on.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary on the seventh of next month. My brother was divorced after five years of marriage and is now getting remarried by a justice of the peace. His "bride" is also divorced, and this will be a second marriage for both of them. They initially planned to be married on the third of the month but changed the date to the seventh saying they couldn't find another date that worked.
Last time I checked, there were 31 days in the month. Our parents don't understand why I'm upset that my brother plans to marry on my wedding anniversary date. I feel this is my special day, one that I have earned after 22 years of marriage. My brother and his fiancee could easily pick another date. Am I being petty, or is my brother unreasonable? — THAT'S MY DAY IN MICHIGAN
DEAR DAY: I'm glad you asked. You are making a mountain out of a molehill. You don't "own" the seventh of next month.
Rather than looking to be offended, you should be hoping that your brother and his fiancee have the same good fortune and years of happiness that you and your husband have enjoyed. Their anniversary won't impinge on yours.
The most meaningful wedding gift you could offer them would be to wish them every happiness on this special day – for all of you – and stop looking for drama where there isn't any. Celebrate your anniversary next month at a time that works best for you and your husband.
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.