DEAR ABBY: I did something really selfish and stupid. I got involved with a married man, and it lasted several years. When his wife found out, everything blew up. She wrote me a letter saying she needed closure and to let me know how I destroyed her self-esteem. She questioned my morals and berated me for my actions.
I deeply regret what I did, and I am filled with remorse. I want her to know how sorry I am, and I have written a response to her letter. I did it partly because I needed to put my feelings down in words and to express my sadness for all the pain I caused.
I am sure she never wants to hear from me again, but I need to apologize and let her know I’ll regret what I did for the rest of my life. Should I send it? — FULL OF SADNESS AND REMORSE
DEAR FULL: I think you have done enough already. Because you are sure the woman never wants to hear from you again, don’t send it. While she deserves an apology for your part in her husband’s infidelity, I seriously doubt it will lessen her pain, even as it eases your guilt.
DEAR ABBY: After being together for a year, my boyfriend and I recently moved in together. Since then he hasn’t been home much. We don’t spend time together the way we used to when we first started dating. He has changed a lot.
I have kids from a previous relationship. My boyfriend recently told me he always wanted to be the first guy to give a girl her first child. I just want to know if I should let him go or try to fight for him because I’m in love with him. — SECOND THOUGHTS IN CHICAGO
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: Your boyfriend knew you had children when he began dating you. I think it is time the two of you have another conversation about what he told you, because he may have been rehearsing his exit speech. Life rarely turns out the way we fantasize that it will. If he is considering ending your relationship in order to “give a girl her first child,” the sooner you know about it, the better -— for you.
DEAR ABBY: My mother and father have been divorced for eight years. Since then, she has found a younger guy who is about eight years older than I am. I’m 23.
The age difference always bothered me, but what bothers me even more is she’s always doing for him and he gives her nothing in return. Since day one I have been convinced he’s using her for shelter and food. However, she can’t seem to recognize it.
I don’t know what to do, Abby. I’m just tired of my mom being used by men. — DAUGHTER IN DELAWARE
DEAR DAUGHTER: I appreciate your concerns about your mother, but until she’s ready to admit to herself that what’s happening is part of an ongoing pattern, nothing will change. She is doing this for a reason — or more than one. Her self-esteem may be so low she doesn’t believe she deserves better, she may be so desperate to have a man in her life that she’s willing to literally pay the price, or she may believe having a man so much younger is a trophy.
You cannot live your mother’s life for her, but you can learn from it. Concentrate on making the best life you can for yourself. If you do, those efforts will be well spent.
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 www.DearAbby.com 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 $8 (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.)