Bitter son won’t allow mom to find happiness

Published 8:23 am Friday, May 3, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: My sister “Sandy” divorced her husband 15 years ago. Her oldest son, “Nick,” has never gotten over it. He’s 30 now and has treated her badly over the years. He not only vandalized her home but has also said horrible things to her. She maintained a relationship with him despite his behavior, supporting him emotionally and sometimes financially.

Sandy has been engaged to her long-term boyfriend for three years, but Nick is hostile toward him. He calls him names, denigrates his faith and refuses to accept him as part of the family. Her fiancé has grown tired of this treatment, and I’m afraid it may cause their breakup. 

My sister doesn’t want to lose her son over this, and everyone in our family, including her other children, loves Nick. What can she do? – SEES DYSFUNCTION IN NEW MEXICO

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DEAR SEES: What your sister should do depends upon what’s more important to her. If losing her fiancé to maintain a relationship with her disrespectful and unloving son is paramount, she should end their romantic relationship. Of course, it won’t change her son’s deplorable behavior, and she will have to accept that. OR she can decide to go on with her life and possibly marry her gentleman friend. The rest of the family can continue to love Nick as much as they wish, and everyone will be happier.

P.S. I can’t help but wonder why this letter came from you and not from your sister. The most unwelcome advice is that which is unsolicited.


DEAR ABBY: As far as I’m concerned, my marriage is over. For the past 10 years or more, my wife has recklessly spent our joint savings and my pension savings, taken out credit cards in my name without my knowledge and put us through bankruptcy. We now have over $50k in debt with nothing left. She has also been having affairs on the side. 

I can’t trust a word she says or continue to live like this. Each time, she has begged for forgiveness and promised not to do it anymore – until she does it a week later. We agreed to separate a month ago, but now she realizes there’s not going to be any regular income from me and wants to stay married. When I told her no, she attacked me physically. 

I don’t want the police involved. I have a daughter on the spectrum. Although she’s a young adult, she will blame me, and what relationship I have with her will be destroyed. I have been advised to not move out, as that can be seen by the courts as abandoning my property to her. Please advise, Abby. – END OF THE ROAD 


DEAR END: The best advice I can offer you is to tell this story to the best divorce lawyer you can find (interview SEVERAL) and follow that person’s advice TO THE LETTER. If you must remain on the property, buy a sturdy lock for your bedroom door, and use it. If your wife becomes violent again, DO involve the police, and get out of there as soon as you safely can.


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.)