Dear Abby: Free of her ex, mom feels happy but guilty

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DEAR ABBY: My ex is a recovering drug addict. We have a 2-year-old son together. I realized he was using drugs when I was seven months pregnant and all our money was gone.

I stayed with him for a year after I learned about his addiction. That year was the hardest year of my life. Choosing to leave was extremely painful, and I still cry about it every day.

My ex was never the type of addict who nodded off, cheated or had other issues; if it hadn’t been for the money disappearing, we would have had a perfect relationship. He finally went to rehab and seems to be doing well. He still goes to work at a great job, pays child support and is involved with our son, who adores him. He wants us to get back together.

It has been more than a year since we separated — and I hate to admit this, but I’m the happiest I have ever been. Abby, I feel guilty about it. Even though I love him, he broke me as a person with his lies, and I don’t think I can ever trust him.

I love my life with my son, and the thought of us living as a family in one house again makes me sick. I feel ashamed for not wanting to try, and these feelings are crippling.

I told him I want him to move on, but he says he will always love me and will never give up. Do I owe it to him — and our child — to try and work it out? — HAPPIER WITHOUT HIM

DEAR HAPPIER: No, you do not. You are in charge of your life now, and if that gives you peace of mind and makes you happy, then you are under no moral or ethical obligation to change it.

Please remember that you are not responsible for your ex’s happiness. You may always love each other, but that doesn’t obligate you. If he wants to “never give up,” that is his choice. If you want to move on with your life, that is your choice and your privilege.

DEAR ABBY: Can you settle a dispute between my husband and me? Sometimes, I take it upon myself to hand-wash my car because I enjoy seeing my hard work reflected in my shiny car. When I do, it sparks an argument.

His view is that since he’s the man, he should be responsible for washing the car. He says there are certain things “women just don’t do.”

I think I’m perfectly capable of washing my car. Should I give up and let him take care of washing my car, or should I stand my ground? — JUST AS CAPABLE

DEAR CAPABLE: If you want to wash your car occasionally, it should not be grounds for an argument. Many women do, and it’s not an issue.

However, because your husband seems to find it emasculating, let me suggest that rather than argue about it you allow him to spoil you by doing it for you from time to time. And when he does, if you feel compelled to polish something, let it be your nails while he’s out there sweating in the driveway.

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

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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