DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for three years. My ex-husband and I remain on good terms. Our 13-year-old son lives with me.
I was wondering, Abby, if it is appropriate to display a wedding picture of my ex and me in the living room. -- JANICE IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR JANICE: If looking at the wedding picture gives you and your son pleasure and brings back memories of the ''good times,'' there's certainly no harm in displaying it. However, if and when you begin a serious relationship, I'd recommend putting it away -- or giving it to your son for his room.
My instincts tell me you still have romantic feelings for your ex. If he feels the same way, get joint professional counseling and see what develops. It is not unheard of for people to remarry.
DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are planning a small, intimate wedding in September. He's one of three children. One of his sisters is planning an October wedding. His other sister is being married next month.
His parents have asked us to put our wedding plans on ''hold'' until both of his sisters are married because 1) they are older, 2) they were engaged first, and 3) three weddings in one year is a lot for one family to handle. Incidentally, Abby, we do not live together and we're paying for our own wedding.
We do not want to wait until 2001 to marry. Are we selfish to want our wedding the way we want it? I'd appreciate your perspective. -- UNCERTAIN IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR UNCERTAIN: Since you're planning and paying for your own wedding, and the groom's family has limited participation in most weddings, I see no reason to postpone the happy event. To put a positive spin on it, your future in-laws will probably refer to the year 2000 as ''The Year of the Weddings'' in their family.
DEAR ABBY: Please print ''Ten Commandments for a Mother-in-Law.'' They have been a guiding light for me for years. Actually, the title should probably be ''Ten Commandments for ALL In-Laws.'' -- GRATEFUL MOTHER-IN-LAW
DEAR GRATEFUL: You could be right. They contain much wisdom. Read on:
TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR A MOTHER-IN-LAW by Iola M. Irwin
Thou shalt love, honor and respect the new couple.
Thou shalt allow them complete independence.
Thou shalt speak only kindly and loyally about them.
Thou shalt not find fault.
Thou shalt not visit them too frequently, and never enter their home without knocking.
Thou shalt not expect them to visit you too often.
Thou shalt not give advice unless requested.
Thou shalt not mention how much you look forward to grandchildren.
Thou shalt respect their taste in home decorating, though it differs from your own.
Thou shalt petition daily the Heavenly Father, in whose love they abide, for their happiness.
DEAR ABBY: I met a really nice guy at a child's birthday party. About a week later we ran into each other at a museum. We talked and exchanged e-mail addresses. A week later I e-mailed him and the conversations began. I found out he was unhappily married.
We continued to e-mail each other. During every conversation, he told me how much he wanted to remove himself from his marriage; however, he didn't want to leave his children. He asked several times to take me to lunch or dinner. Because he was married, I refused.
Then last January, he asked if he could take me out for my birthday. I agreed to lunch. We had a wonderful two hours, and I kissed him at the end of lunch. What a great kiss it was! In March, he moved out of their home and into his own place. Then he filed for legal separation. (I saw the paper with both signatures.)
Since his move, his wife has begun to question him about seeing other people. According to him, she doesn't want him back, but she doesn't want him with anyone else. She insists he keep the children every weekend and any evening he isn't working.
Over the past month, our communication has declined. He's exhausted from working two jobs and spending every non-working moment with the children. He says repeatedly that he wants us to continue seeing each other, but he no longer has the time to see me or even e-mail me. Frankly, I don't see his wife changing her pattern anytime soon.
Last weekend, he told her he couldn't pick up the children on Friday night because he had ''other plans.'' When he arrived at his apartment, she was sitting in the parking lot and insisted he take the children. He refused; she became angry and violent. He did not pick up the children that evening, but picked them up bright and early Saturday morning. What do you think is best for everyone involved? -- HIS FRIEND IN VIRGINIA
DEAR FRIEND: Right now, your new friend is in ''no man's land.'' He's not exactly married, but he's not free either.
What's best for everyone involved? Marriage counseling for the man and his wife to see if they can resolve their differences. If they can't be resolved, then a divorce.
As for you, keep your distance and stay out of the line of fire. He may be separated, but he's still a married man. If you're looking for a future with him, it could be years -- and a lot of frustration and heartache -- away.
DEAR ABBY: What do you think of a woman who accepts a marriage proposal at her deceased fourth husband's memorial luncheon? And are we, her circle of friends, wrong to be shocked, scandalized and disapproving of this? She says it's ''God's will.'' Does God run a dating service? Please advise. -- ASTONISHED IN GOODYEAR, ARIZ.
DEAR ASTONISHED: Unless the man who made the marriage proposal was one of the waiters, it's safe to assume that the grieving widow and the suitor are well acquainted. Have you never heard of a ''match made in heaven''? If you are truly her friends, try to be less judgmental and happier for her.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.