Couple Hesitates To Confess Living Arrangements To Priest

Abigail Van Buren
Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: My fiancee, "Jenny," and I are being married next year. Jenny is a devout Catholic and is having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that we're living together. We recently moved out of state as a result of job transfers and -- for purely economic reasons -- moved in together.

Now that we're about to be married, Jenny is beside herself with what to tell her new parish priest because she's afraid he will refuse to marry us if she reveals that we're living together.

Abby, I love Jenny very much, and I'm concerned that this is going to cause problems between us. She's considering not telling the priest that we live together because she feels he wouldn't understand. I'm inclined to agree. Before we moved, we were living separately.

Any advice would be helpful. -- LIVING IN SIN IN ST. LOUIS

DEAR LIVING IN SIN: I don't know what the policies are in St. Louis, but some dioceses will not marry couples who cohabitate unless they first separate.

You and your fiancee should go to the priest, explain the entire situation, including the economic reasons for your living together, and tell him you would like to be married. It may not be as bad as Jenny fears. The alternative, starting married life with a lie, is worse than separating temporarily.

DEAR ABBY: My husband of many years has asked me to promise him that I won't inform his family and adult children when he dies. He wants no funeral or obituary -- nothing to mark his passing. I am concerned because his health isn't good and I must decide soon if I can make that promise.

His adult children and their families rarely call, visit or write to him. They never send a greeting card for any occasion. The only time he hears from them is when they want something. He says that since they don't care about him while he's living, they won't care when he dies.

I feel torn about this. Only a few members of his family like me. I don't want to cause more hard feelings. Were my husband to die next week, I would be hard-pressed to obey his final wish. I would want to notify those few family members who would be hurt if I didn't.

Please print this. Perhaps his children will see it and change their ways. But please don't mention my name or town. -- BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

DEAR BETWEEN: While I understand your husband's desire that his children, who show no concern for him, not be notified in the event of his death, I do not agree that they should not be told of their father's passing. People who feel the need to mourn should be allowed to work through their grief and achieve closure. Failure to notify them will only fuel the fire of resentment they already feel for you.

In spite of their inattentiveness, the children should be notified, whether there is to be a funeral or not. If you wish to have a memorial service of some kind to enable you and those you care about to grieve, you should be entitled to have a private one. His children can hold their own service if they need the closure.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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