Dear Abby: Abuse, alcohol cloud victim’s perception

Published 12:12 pm Wednesday, October 20, 2021

DEAR ABBY: For the last three years, I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. I finally found the courage to leave. Throughout the time I was with my ex, I self-medicated with alcohol because I felt ugly and unloved. One day, while I was out and intoxicated, I created an online profile on a dating app. Three days later, I went on a date that went absolutely great. We spent the entire weekend together and have seen each other for the last three months since then.

My problem is I still have feelings for my abusive ex. The man I am currently seeing is loving and caring. He already talks about marriage and giving me a life I deserve. At the beginning, I was very into him, but maybe now I’m realizing he was a rebound because, as time passes, I do not share the same feelings he does. I am worried I will lose this man and perhaps a great life over someone who caused me so much pain and grief. Please help. — STUCK IN MY PAST

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DEAR STUCK: Although you may be tempted in that direction, the one thing you do NOT need is to return to your prior toxic relationship. Before you commit to another relationship, you must resolve your alcohol problem. The next item on your agenda should be getting reacquainted with the worthwhile person that YOU are.

Although your new boyfriend seems loving and caring, neither of you knows the other well enough after only three months to make a well-reasoned lifetime commitment. It shows insight that you are thinking this may be a rebound relationship rather than the real thing. Listen to your intuition. It is telling you something important, so slow down!


DEAR ABBY: Must an engagement ring be “new”? My mother died at the age of 60 and left her engagement ring to me. My father then married a younger woman. They had one daughter, who subsequently has had children of her own. I never married, and have reached an age where it’s not likely I will, and I still have the ring. I could have the stone reset for myself, but I never cared much for jewelry, and I wouldn’t feel right selling it.

I’m considering giving it to the daughter (my half-sister) so one of her descendants could use it for its intended purpose. Would a potential fiancee consider it an insult to be receiving a “used” engagement ring, or be honored to be welcomed into the family with an heirloom? (We should consider that the original wearer is technically not a blood relation, so it’s possibly not their “family” heirloom.) — PASSING IT ON IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR PASSING IT: I can’t speak for all young women, but many would recognize the honor of being offered a keepsake/heirloom such as your mother’s ring. If they didn’t like the style, they, too, could decide whether to have the stone reset into something more to their liking. I think your idea of offering it to your half-sister is generous and beautiful. YOU are a gem.


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.


What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)