Dear Abby: Abusive husband won’t accept that marriage is over

While his wife is living in a shelter with their children, he keeps calling to propose a reconciliation and threaten to stop paying support.

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DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of two small children. I have separated from their verbally abusive, alcoholic father. I returned to my grandmother, who raised me, and tried to get a job. I couldn’t find one quickly because we went into quarantine and my uncles made me move out.

I currently live in a women’s shelter with my children, and I finally got a job. My problem is my husband still acts like we are getting back together, and he’s embarrassed that we are living here. I want a divorce, but he won’t talk about it, and threatens not to send money to support me and the children. He doesn’t send much, but I have enough gas to get everywhere during the week.

He keeps telling me how much money he makes now and that he can get us a nice place where he is, or he can come stay a whole week with us when he’s off. I don’t want him to come stay with us. When I tell him this, he gets angry and hangs up, but then calls back the next day to say the same thing. I can’t get him to understand that I don’t want to be with him anymore, and I’m tired of his abuse. (The last time I lived with him, he “accidentally” knocked our son into the couch and walked out.) He won’t admit he has a problem. Any advice? — DONE FOR GOOD

DEAR DONE: Your husband persists the way he has been because he’s trying to wear you down to the point that you will reunite with him. Perhaps you should accept fewer of those phone calls. If there are social workers connected to the shelter you’re staying in, consult them about your predicament.

Your husband cannot shirk paying child support. If he doesn’t do it voluntarily, his wages can be garnished. While you’re at it, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233) because they may have useful suggestions about how to rid yourself of your abusive, alcoholic husband.

DEAR ABBY: Our only son has moved 2,000 miles away and has no contact with his sisters or me. I know his street address and still have his email address and phone number. About 10 years ago, when I was separated from his father, we were both expressing our angst, and I more than likely negated his feelings in an email. I ran across it the other day, and now realize that it may have caused the rift.

Should I bring that up in an apology now, hoping he will accept my most sincere acknowledgment that I ignored his pain? If so, what do I say? I am heartbroken and cannot sleep well with this hanging over my head. — HEARTBROKEN MOM IN TEXAS

DEAR MOM: Write your son and tell him you are trying to understand what has caused the rift between you. Explain that you have been going over things in your mind and found the email from so long ago. Tell him that if this is what caused it, you sincerely apologize, but that you were both going through a difficult time when the email was written, that you love him and hope he will forgive you if it caused him pain.

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.

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