Dear Annie: Bob and I are both divorced from our previous spouses. His ex-wife was unfaithful, and so was my ex-husband. We fell in love even though we live miles apart. I recently visited him for the second time to talk about our future plans. He wanted me to meet his friends, and I happily agreed.
"Tina" is a longtime family friend. Bob is godfather to two of her children. She claims to be best friends with Bob's ex-wife. But during dinner, Tina made inappropriate advances toward Bob. He finally confessed that they had a one-night stand when he discovered his wife was cheating. They swore never to speak of their tryst. This happened long before he met me, and Bob says he feels terrible about it. But Tina made sure I knew they had a sexual history. It took every bit of reserve to maintain my composure that evening.
While I have zero respect for a woman who sleeps with her best friend's man, I am also unhappy with Bob. He has done everything within his power since then to prove that he loves me and wants a future with me, including marriage, but I cannot get past the fact that he and Tina crossed a boundary and still expect to remain friendly. What kind of man would try to merge his past with his present? — Feeling Confused
Dear Confused: Bob has been honest with you, but as godfather to Tina's children, she will always be in the picture. Do you trust him not to put himself in a compromising position? That is the sole issue. You cannot change the past. You can only accept it and move forward. You and Bob might benefit from premarital counseling. He sounds worth it.
Dear Annie: My daughter is planning a wedding to a great guy, and I am thrilled for her. The problem is, he comes from a very wealthy family. I live in a mobile home. If I'm lucky, I could scratch together $3,000 to put toward their wedding, but that's it.
I don't want to use the little money I've saved toward my retirement. I've already spent a fortune on my dress, the gifts and all the little extras. So my question is, how do I offer $3,000 and say that is all I have to give toward the actual wedding? Do I need to apologize? Should I take out a loan or borrow from my retirement to save face? This whole thing is keeping me up at night. — The Bride's Mother
Dear Mother: Parents should never put themselves in hock in order to pay for a child's wedding. An adult bride and groom should pay for their own nuptials whenever possible, even if that means cake and punch in the backyard. Tell your daughter you love her very much, and you will be happy to give her $3,000 toward the cost of her wedding. Period. You don't need to apologize or take out a loan. If she wants something more elaborate, it's her problem, not yours.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Not Romeo and Juliet," who said that many years ago, there was some unspecified rift between her family and her boyfriend's family. Now that she and the boyfriend have reconnected and wish to marry, the families are angry and vehemently against it.
The first thing they should do is have their DNA checked. I'd bet there was an affair between two of those parents and the kids are related. - First-Time Writer from Iowa
Dear Iowa: You could be right, although the rift extends to every member of both families. While an affair seems a likely basis for the animosity, we would hope the parents would inform the couple if they shared DNA. Instead, they are vague, saying only that they won't attend the wedding. We think the couple deserves to know why.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.