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Dear Abby 12/01
Mother is the victim of bride's 11th-hour wedding bombshell
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    DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Courtney," was recently married, and the week leading up to the wedding was a disaster. My husband, "Jeff," and I paid for the majority of her lavish wedding with assistance from her new in-laws. My ex-husband, "Earl" (Courtney's father), didn't pay for any portion of it. Over the past 15 years he has offered little support, financially or emotionally. In fact, Earl has stolen from both of my daughters (it was identity theft) and ran up thousands of dollars in bills, not to mention the unpaid medical expenses and child support.
    Courtney and her fiance's family were scheduled to stay at our house for a few days prior to the wedding. One week before they were scheduled to come, Courtney informed me that she wanted to "establish a new relationship" with her father and his side of the family.
    Being already emotional about the wedding, I flipped out. I didn't understand how she could do this to me and her stepdad after all our years of picking up the pieces.
    Courtney told me to "stuff it" and did as she pleased. Her new in-laws sided with her. They were aware of the problems with Earl, the stolen money, etc. Jeff and I attended the wedding, but were treated poorly. Needless to say, Earl was treated like a king.
    Jeff thinks I need to write Courtney off, as she has shown her true colors. Right now, I am very upset. Have you any suggestions? — DEVASTATED IN PHOENIX
    DEAR DEVASTATED: Yes, I do. If you want to spare yourself years of pain and aggravation, you will listen to your husband. It appears that Courtney is her father's daughter.
    The sacrifices you made to raise her have resulted in her becoming a selfish, self-centered, rude adult. In order for her to fulfill her fantasy of being "Daddy's girl," she was willing to sacrifice her relationship with you. For your own sake, do not forget it. Unless you can take a giant emotional step backward, Courtney will continue to treat you like a doormat — and don't be surprised if she uses any children she has as leverage. Be forewarned.

    DEAR ABBY: I am an 18-year-old girl who is faced with a dilemma. My friend, "Kate," and I were sexually assaulted at a party we attended recently. The guy who did it was a friend of Kate's and very popular. He claims he blacked out and doesn't remember what happened.
    Although it didn't escalate to rape, what happened deeply upset Kate. I have put the incident behind me, but Kate can't. We have brought this to the attention of the police and must now decide whether we should allow this to go to court.
    Because we were underage and alcohol was a key factor, would going to court and having the case possibly thrown out be worth the emotional toll it takes on me and Kate? Forcing the guy to go to court would hurt him, but it could hurt us, as well. — SECOND THOUGHTS IN PENNSYLVANIA
    DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: Because no rape occurred and, I assume, everyone involved was under the influence, I am unsure what the consequences would be if you took the young man to court. This is something you and Kate should discuss with legal counsel, because more might be gained if he and his family were to agree to foot the bill for post-traumatic stress counseling for Kate — and alcohol abuse counseling for all three of you.

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