When Visitation Means Crossing Into Violence

By Marcy Sugar

By Kathy Mitchell

May 7, 2012 5 min read

Dear Annie: I have a never-ending situation with my husband, whom I love very much. We have two preteen daughters he insists on taking across the border to Mexico to visit his family. With the recent drug wars and violence there, I am beside myself in allowing this to happen. The arguments have been so heated that we've actually talked to lawyers. Neither one of us wants to end up in divorce court, but we are both firm in our positions.

He takes the kids to visit about once a week, and I'm strongly against it. My lawyer said that since we live in a border town, he didn't think a court would prevent my husband from taking the kids to Mexico. I'm not so sure. I hate to say it, but if it keeps my girls safe, I'm willing to leave him if that means he won't be able to transport them out of the country to Mexico. Any advice? — Texas

Dear Texas: The U.S. recently issued travel warnings for Mexico. Your husband undoubtedly feels there is no undue risk in visiting his family, but he is not accepting the reality of the situation there. Go online and get some up-to-date statistics about the increase in violence, and see whether you can convince him to be more careful with his daughters' lives. Is there any possibility that the in-laws could meet your husband in Texas? Would they be willing to arrange a visit in a safer area of Mexico (there are several)? Keep in mind that a divorce would not necessarily prevent your husband from taking the children across the border, so we urge you to find a way to work this out.

Dear Annie: I am getting married in October. Everything was going smoothly until my fiance mentioned that his mom wanted her cousin's daughter, "Michelle," to be a bridesmaid. I have never met Michelle, she doesn't speak English, and I would feel uncomfortable having her play such an important role. My fiance said it would be a nice thing to do, especially since Michelle has cancer, but he left the decision to me.

I decided against it, but was adamant that she attend the wedding as a guest. My fiance's family, however, felt it was an attack on them. His mom said she wouldn't feel welcome at our wedding and refuses to attend if Michelle isn't a bridesmaid. Then my fiance's sister (who is a bridesmaid) said she wasn't going to attend, either.

I was heartbroken and confused, and my fiance is trapped in the middle. I now feel Michelle has to be a bridesmaid in order to keep the peace. Was I selfish to deny her in the first place? My fiance's mom says no matter what I do, she will never look at me the same way. — Bride-to-Be

Dear Bride: Let's get a couple of things straight. Yes, the bride selects her bridesmaids, and the future in-laws should not be pressuring and threatening you. However, this particular choice means a great deal to them, and it is wise for a bride to periodically please her future in-laws. Including Michelle from the start would have been a minor inconvenience to you while gaining lots of brownie points with your fiance and his family. Now you appear to be heartless. If you stick to your guns, you'll end up with nothing. So suck it up, apologize profusely, and say you didn't realize how important it was to include Michelle and you'd be proud and happy to do so.

Dear Annie: I agree with "Friend of a Young Cancer Victim" that it's better to donate to charity or medical research than spend the money on flowers at a funeral. However, when I have done this, more often than not, I am inundated with endless requests for further donations. This makes me not want to donate at all. — Another Fan

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, 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.

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