Dear Abby: I cut out my parents after their betrayal, but now they want to reconnect

Years ago they took the side of the husband who cheated and walked out on their daughter and grandson.

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DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, my parents betrayed my son and me. They took in and supported my ex-husband, who walked out on us for a co-worker he was cheating with. My son and I lost our home, our car and the life we knew without support from any family. My son was still in high school, and it was a dark time in both of our lives.

My parents are both older and have been diagnosed with life-threatening conditions. They are now reaching out to us. To say the least, I am apprehensive. Having to go through what I did with only the support of my friends and son made me stronger, and I (literally and figuratively) have moved on.

I don’t know if I should reconsider a relationship with my parents. Losing my father’s support was harder than losing my husband, and I don’t want to experience that pain again. Can you advise? — BURNED IN TENNESSEE

DEAR BURNED: You did not desert your parents; your parents deserted you when you needed them most. To you and your son’s credit, you moved forward and created a chosen family from the people who showed they cared about you.

Your parents chose your husband and his lady friend. Have they ever apologized or tried to make amends? You stated that you have “literally and figuratively” moved on. If your parents haven’t done that, my advice would be for you to continue moving on.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 41-year-old gay man who is living with my boyfriend and older parents. Five years ago, I was divorced from someone I was in a relationship with for 10 years and married to for five. Our split was amicable and civil. We still speak occasionally.

I recently bought a ring for my boyfriend. We have been dating almost five years (we met soon after my divorce) and I want to get married again. Last time, I was the one asked. This time, I’m doing the proposing, and even asked his parents out of respect.

Although I have the ring, for some reason I can’t decide how, where or when I am going to propose. Because of the way my marriage ended, I feel terrible guilt for even thinking about asking someone to marry me. I no longer have feelings for my ex (that’s one of the reasons it ended), but I have tremendous respect for him. I don’t hate him (like many divorcees), and I feel it would be stabbing him in the back.

I know he regrets asking for the divorce, as he’ll make passing comments to that effect when we speak. I brush it off, but I can’t brush off this guilt I’m carrying for moving on. Am I wrong? Are these thoughts normal? — HESITATING IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR HESITATING: Excuse me. Your ex-husband asked YOU for the divorce and YOU feel guilty for moving on? It doesn’t seem to me like you have moved on very far. It’s just as well that you haven’t proposed to your boyfriend. Until you finally figure out where your heart lies, you should absolutely NOT pop the question — even if the parents of the current man in your life say they approve.

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.

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.)

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