DEAR ABBY: I am a 37-year-old man who is getting married for the first time. My fiancee, "Holly," and I went to middle school and high school together, but never really got to know each other until a few years ago.
Growing up, I was socially awkward, partly due to having Asperger's, which made me a target for bullies. Holly and I are now choosing our wedding party. She has expressed that she would like her cousin "Gerald" to be one of my groomsmen.
The problem is, Gerald was my main tormentor from eighth grade all through high school. At one point in 10th grade, his cruelty led to my attempting suicide. I carry the scar from the attempt on my right wrist.
I understand that people change and mature as they grow older, and I'm OK with Gerald attending the wedding. But the idea of him standing next to me on the biggest day of my life, along with my best friend and two closest cousins, triggers too many awful memories. How can I plead this to Holly without hurting her feelings or looking shallow and petty? -- NERVOUS GROOM-TO-BE
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DEAR GROOM-TO-BE: Shallow and petty? The scar on your wrist is visible, but clearly there are others, equally painful, that are not. I don't think it would come across as either shallow or petty if you explain to your fiancee, exactly as you have explained it to me.
DEAR ABBY: I've been an alcoholic since I was 21. I was married for 19 years, and my drinking was at its worst toward the end. I was selfish toward my wife and my daughter. Since then, I have learned many hard lessons.
I have apologized to my ex-wife for my actions. I was never violent, but I embarrassed her and my daughter with behavior that I'm ashamed of. I'm in a Christian-based rehab program and have chosen to follow this path for the rest of my life.
Over the last six months I have sent texts and a few letters to my daughter, hoping for an acknowledgment or some dialogue, to no avail. Since being at rehab, I've written her about my feelings and some small talk, always ending my letter telling her she's the love of my heart, and I miss her. Is there anything else I can do? -- HOPING AND PRAYING IN NASHVILLE
DEAR HOPING: Yes, there is one more thing you can do. Because she may consider your words nothing but lip service, make an attempt to visit her so she can SEE the change in you. Accept that damage has been done, and you cannot alter the past.