Dear Abby: I am a divorced mother of four. I have been single for three years, since my ex chose an affair over our marriage. I am successful and manage my home and finances.
I am, however, struggling with pressure from my ex to get back together. He had several affairs during the 13 years we were married. The pain and self-loathing were unbearable for me. He hasn’t changed. Yet he tells our 14-year-old son, “Jackson,” that he still loves me and “wants only to be with me.” He also told Jackson that he doesn’t know why I have chosen to keep our family broken up.
I moved hundreds of miles to get away from this. I have a great job and a lovely home, but my son stays mad at me. He has chosen to live with his dad, and when he visits, he demands explanations for why I’m not with them. It breaks my heart. His father has already told him about the affairs, but says I should forgive him. Ironically, I do forgive him. I want my ex to have a great life – without me. What can I say to my son to help him understand that some things just won’t mend?
– Moved On in Alabama
Dear Moved On: You would be doing your son a favor to tell him the truth. As it stands, he thinks that a husband having affairs is nothing serious. Now it’s time to tell Jackson that his father didn’t do this just once; he did it repeatedly. Explain that you tried forgiving him, and it only caused you more pain. Tell your son you love him and you’re sorry he’s angry, but it’s clear that his father isn’t going to change. If you do, it may teach Jackson that not all women will accept this kind of treatment and endlessly forgive. If you don’t, he may turn out just like dear old dad.
Her doggone trucker parents
Dear Abby: I live in my parents’ home. They are long-haul truck drivers and come home every eight weeks or so for a few days. I’m disabled and have a caregiver who comes four days a week.
When my parents stop in and the caregiver is here, they expect her to do things for them. They bring four dogs on the truck with them and leave four dogs at home with me – so that’s eight dogs. I am extremely grateful for this home, and I love them very much, but right now, I feel like a house/dog sitter.
My son has invited me to go on vacation with his family. Is it my responsibility to make arrangements for the dogs they have left here? I feel like a prisoner in my own home.
– House Sitter in the South
Dear House Sitter: Because the dogs have been left in your keeping, the responsibility for ensuring their safety and well-being in your parents’ absence belongs to you. Ask your parents if they would mind a pet sitter staying in the house when you vacation with your son, or if they would prefer the dogs be placed in a kennel.