DEAR ABBY: I have been with my fiance since 2006. We expected to be married in 2008, but my grandmother died a month before my wedding, and then he was arrested because of charges stemming from a sexual relationship he'd had with a 17-year-old girl he had been counseling.
Since then, we have had a daughter, but through it all there has been cheating, drugs, jail, no job, and constant excuses about why our sex life no longer exists. We have also had physical altercations, which he was arrested for.
I am no longer happy with this relationship. The only reason I stay is because of our children. I'm only 33 and don't want to live my life in misery anymore, but I will sacrifice my happiness for my children. I am confused and don't know what to do. I'm just going through the motions in life. I work full time, coach my son's soccer team and am living with MS.
He does help somewhat, but it would be better if he would get a job. My mother watches my kids while I am working and after they get out of school. He claims because he doesn't have a driver's license he can't get a job. Really? How many people in this world don't drive and still have a job? Please give me some advice. I have reached my breaking point. -- DOING THE BEST I CAN
DEAR DOING THE BEST YOU CAN: You say you are willing to sacrifice your happiness with this loser for your children. Why? You are not married to him, and he is emotionally neglectful, physically abusive and contributes nothing financially. Admit to yourself that the "romance" has been a mistake, and as soon as it's safe, get away from him. If he ever finds a job, the state will help you collect child support, but if he doesn't, you'll have one less mouth to feed.
DEAR ABBY: My mom insists on including my ex-husband and his wife at our family gatherings. I have told her repeatedly that it makes me very uncomfortable, but she even included them in the gift exchange last Christmas. What should I do? Not go?
My sister has already laid a guilt trip on me. Must I go and have Christmas with my ex like we're one big happy family? (If we had been happy, we would not have gotten divorced.) What are your thoughts on this? -- LIVING IN DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION
DEAR LIVING: If you and your ex were married for a long time, I can see why your mother might consider him still part of the family and want to include him. However, out of consideration for your feelings, it should be on a limited basis -- not every holiday. (Could she be trying to punish you because she blames you for the divorce?)
Because it would make you uncomfortable and your mother knows it, make plans to do something you would enjoy -- perhaps a trip out of town to be with friends or to a different climate. And please, don't feel guilty if you do -- regardless of what your sister says.
DEAR ABBY: What do you say to your only son who can't even call to tell you he is getting married? He posted it on Facebook, and I was notified via a text from my sister.
Our relationship isn't the issue. He just doesn't seem to be able to use his phone for talking. Your thoughts? -- OUTSIDE THE LOOP IN OREGON
DEAR OUTSIDE THE LOOP: Because your son seems oblivious to the fact that news of this kind should be conveyed to the immediate family personally rather than in a "bulletin," explain to him how it made you feel to receive the news the way you did. He owes you an apology.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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