Dear Abby: Relationship was at times hot, at times cold, and at times I miss it

Woman dated guy on and off for four years and now isn’t sure why she left him.

SHARE Dear Abby: Relationship was at times hot, at times cold, and at times I miss it

DEAR ABBY: My now-ex and I had a complicated, four-year on-again, off-again relationship. I finally ended it five months ago, but I’m still not sure whether I made the right choice.

Every guy I date I compare to him. It’s hard to imagine myself with anyone else. We were so similar, and we made so many plans together. Our families weren’t crazy about us being together. I backed away many times because I wasn’t sure of us in the long term.

Maybe it was because I’m only 22 and scared of committing forever, or because I want to be a doctor and have years of schooling ahead of me. Our relationship was always very hot and passionate, but it turned very cold and distant sometimes.

I’m confused. Did I leave for the hope of something better or a fear of commitment? Or was it because I’m young and still trying to figure out my life and felt he was holding me back? — SECOND THOUGHTS IN ARIZONA

DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: Your life is just beginning. If you are sincere about your desire to be a doctor, you may have to postpone other aspects of your life until you are closer to your goal. The last thing you need in the near term is the distraction of a hot and passionate/cold and distant romance.

You mentioned that you backed away “many times” because you were unsure about the two of you in the long term. Please stop tormenting yourself. When you meet Mr. Right, you won’t have those second thoughts because you will know the relationship is right.

DEAR ABBY: I’m in a profession that I don’t enjoy anymore, and I would love to venture into another field of interest. I have been in this industry for 10 years, and it carries a lot of stress that I’d like to rid myself of. My concern, however, is that my husband is not working, so I bear all the financial weight.

We have two kids, and he’s a stay-at-home father, which is what we want for our children. We have been fortunate to be able to do this on my income alone, but I’m afraid this has obligated me to maintain a job in which I’m not happy in order to ensure my family’s financial security.

How can I try to discover my passion so I can be happy in my day-to-day while keeping bills paid and food on the table? Is this even possible, or must I suck it up and do what’s best for my family? — SEEKING SOMETHING NEW

DEAR SEEKING: If you haven’t already begun, start a dialogue about this with your husband. If he’s willing to change the dynamic of your arrangement, the answer could be as simple as his taking a part-time job to ease some of the financial burden on you while you explore your options. I’m sorry you didn’t mention how old your children are, because after COVID restrictions are lifted and they are back in the classroom, he might be able to find something during their school hours.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY ASIAN READERS WHO CELEBRATE THE LUNAR NEW YEAR: The Year of the Ox begins today. I wish a happy, healthy new year to all who celebrate this holiday. People born in the Year of the Ox are steadfast and determined, and that’s no bull. — LOVE, ABBY

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.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

The Latest
Jashawn Forest, 20, was identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, which ruled his death a homicide.
Rather than seeing his players give in to the growing adversity, coach Billy Donovan watched them turn the second half into a brawl — and eventually a win.
Two beloved former Hawks — Kane and Alex DeBrincat — led a late comeback for Detroit en route to a 3-2 overtime decision on an emotional day at the United Center.
Coach Billy Donovan will continue using different looks and schemes to help fill the void at a very thin spot on the roster, but a lot of the responsibility will fall on Caruso.
A 35-year-old man was going northbound in the 1400 block of North Clark Street before 6 p.m. Sunday when a person in another car fired at him, police said. He was hospitalized in serious condition.