Couple fears for well-being of abused friends and child

Published 8:32 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: My wife’s good friend has had a tough time since her divorce. She started dating this guy off and on a few years ago. After the second breakup, we learned the reason. He was verbally abusive (same as her ex-husband). 

They eventually resumed living together only to break up again after he threw hot cooking oil on her. This qualifies as physical abuse and, because they lived together, domestic abuse. She moved away and was considering a restraining order. 

Several months have gone by, and now we have learned he has moved back in! We are worried for her and her young daughter. My experience as a former law enforcement officer is why I’m convinced she is trapped in a spiral of domestic abuse. I’m afraid each event will become more violent. 

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How can friends help in these cases? It’s easy to spot these cycles when you are not in them. — STANDING BY IN CALIFORNIA


DEAR STANDING BY: The most helpful thing you and your wife can do is continue to stand by this friend. Do not allow her abuser to isolate her. Explain your concerns about the man’s hair-trigger temper and your worry that her child could be caught in the middle of one of his violent episodes – or injured or killed if his fury is aimed directly at the child. 

You or your wife should talk privately with her. Make sure she has the phone number of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233). And reinforce that if she senses she might be in danger, she can call not only the police but also you.


DEAR ABBY: After being widowed for several years, I’ve met someone. We are talking about my moving into his home. My problem is, what do I do with my husband’s ashes? I’ll be keeping my house and won’t be moving a lot of my things, but leaving him here seems wrong, and taking him along doesn’t seem right either. 

At the time of his death, his children wanted nothing to do with his ashes. Because I haven’t heard from them since his passing, asking them again is out of the question. Any idea what I should do? – RESPECTFUL IN MISSOURI


DEAR RESPECTFUL: What did you plan to do with the cremains in the event of your own demise? Have your wishes changed now that you have met someone? Because you haven’t heard from your late husband’s children doesn’t mean you shouldn’t contact them one last time. Ask what, if anything, they would like you to do with their father’s ashes. Should you send them so they can dispose of them as a family, or would they prefer you scatter them in a significant place of your choosing? Their response will tell you what you need to know, and you can proceed free of guilt.


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.


Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)