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Ex comes back for a second chance after being rejected

Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My ex had a prior relationship with my cousin "Earl." When she talked about her past relationships, a common theme emerged. Her partners were emotionally abusive -- cheating, berating her, throwing rage fits where they screamed in her face and threw things. My own history is similar. My partners have done the same to me. (I do not engage in such behavior.)

Earl told her he still has feelings for her, despite the emotional abuse he had inflicted upon her. I confronted him and told him that what he did was inappropriate. Abby, when she heard about it, she dumped me and tried to get back together with Earl!

My cousin, having done work to remedy his issues, rejected her outright. He told her it would never work between them despite the lingering feelings. Now she has come back to me, saying she wants a serious relationship. Should I take her back? -- SO MIXED-UP

DEAR SO MIXED-UP: Heck no. This woman has made clear that you are her second choice. Please don't take her up on her offer. You can't fix what's wrong with this very mixed-up woman, and you shouldn't waste your time trying because if you do, she will only cause you more pain.

DEAR ABBY: My husband is smart, hard-working and a wonderful father to our young son. We hope to grow our family. However, my husband is a cigarette smoker and extremely defensive about any suggestion about him possibly quitting.

Both of his parents passed away from cancer relatively young, and his mother was a smoker, too. I'm terrified he will get sick and die young. Not only that, he constantly misses precious moments with our son, who stands at the window and cries when he sees his father go outside. I'm becoming resentful of the constant breaks he takes while I sit inside comforting our son.

I have tried reasoning with him and suggesting we ask a doctor for help, but he shuts me down and gets angry. How can I try to approach it again? -- ANTI-SMOKER IN COLORADO

DEAR ANTI-SMOKER: You fell in love with an addict. Your husband is addicted to tobacco and appears not to understand or care about how it may affect himself or you and his son in the coming years. My advice would be to stop pressuring your husband for now and ask your doctor to refer you to a support group for friends and family members of people with a smoking addiction.

DEAR ABBY: A man and a woman liked (and loved) each other in their teenage years, but they married different people. After a decade, the man sends wedding anniversary wishes to the woman on Facebook. Without any reply, the next day the woman blocks the man, and on the second day she deactivates her account on FB. What does it mean? -- MYSTIFIED IN THE MIDDLE EAST

DEAR MYSTIFIED: It means the long-ago chapter of your storybook teen romance is over. She has moved on and so should you.

DEAR ABBY: Although I have been divorced from my ex for eight years, we still live together. There is not -- nor will there ever be -- more than a platonic relationship between us, and I have made that abundantly clear to him.

It wasn't always a bad situation, but now it's worse than I could have ever imagined it would be. He drinks heavily on a daily basis and becomes verbally abusive. He has a woman over a lot, and I can't sleep when she's here.

She's a drunk, too, and she also abuses her prescription medications. At least half the time when she's here, I have to lift her passed-out body off the floor and drag her off to his bedroom. She steals money, cigarettes, food and booze all the time.

He dismisses me when I bring up her behavior. He tells me to shut up or get out. I pay for everything except the rent and homeowner's insurance. Cable, electric, oil, propane and groceries are my responsibility. I also do all the inside and outside chores. I earn less than he does, but I pay more than he does.

He tells me what to eat and who I can talk to. I can't have company. Yet he wants to know why I'm not dating. I can't save any money so I can get out. I'm stuck, and he knows it. What do I do? -- HORRIBLE SITUATION IN MAINE

DEAR HORRIBLE SITUATION: You owe this man nothing. You are being treated like a serf, and it has been going on far too long. If you have family or friends you can stay with until you save enough for a place of your own, start asking now. That should enable you to save more money because you won't be paying for cable, electricity, propane, etc. for your ex.

P.S. When the girlfriend passes out, do not lift or drag her anywhere. That is your ex's privilege and not your responsibility. With the load you're already carrying, the last thing you need is a strained back.

DEAR ABBY: I am at high risk for COVID. My oldest son and his family live an hour and a half away. They have two children at home. Their daughter is also at high risk.

During this pandemic, they have continually posted photos of themselves and the kids maskless with friends, hugging each other and acting as if life is normal. My daughter-in-law has told me she's "scared" and does the "wear a mask" thing and shares routine online posts, etc., yet she continues having people over.

In normal circumstances, it's difficult for me to visit. I want to visit them, but every time I consider it, I see them on social media with someone else, sans mask and no social distancing. I'm sure they would say their friends are all healthy, but none of us can know for certain who their friends have been around. It's like dominoes, and it's scary.

I don't know how to explain this to them because I know they will feel I'm being ridiculous. Also, my DIL is super sensitive and would be hurt and insulted. I love them. I don't want to alienate them. I'm ready to just take my chances, although my other daughter is against it. What should I do? -- CAUTIOUS IN NEW YORK

DEAR CAUTIOUS: Many people have grown complacent about mask wearing and social distancing. That's unfortunate because, as I write this, "mask fatigue" has led to an increase in the number of people testing positive for the virus. Your concerns are valid, and I hope you will stick to your guns. As a member of a high-risk group, your life could depend on it.