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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Wants to Know Why She Still Takes Man's Abuse

DEAR ABBY: I am terribly confused and at my wit's end. I left my husband five years ago for a younger man who showed me wonderful attention and admiration. Over the last few years, this relationship has turned ugly. There has been some physical abuse and a lot of verbal abuse. Of course, he doesn't think words can be abusive. Last night was the last straw. He said some things to me that were very cruel, and now I know that we should no longer be together.

So why am I having such a difficult time breaking it off with him? I am a successful, intelligent professional woman. Why do I give in to him over and over again and take him back after he humiliates me? He tells me I deserve it. It makes me so angry at him, and myself.

What makes someone with intelligence and common sense stay in such an awful relationship?

Abby, please help me to understand, so I can break this abusive cycle. I will be anxiously awaiting your reply. -- DISGUSTED WITH MYSELF, LA MESA, CALIF.

DEAR DISGUSTED: I am not qualified to psychoanalyze you, but my best guess is that you are angry with yourself for having left your husband for a younger man who conned you into believing he was some kind of prize.

No woman deserves to be humiliated and abused verbally or physically. I advise you to say goodbye to this poor excuse for a man -- and the sooner the better.

There are worse things than being alone, and you are now experiencing them. Write again in three months. And if you weaken -- reread this letter.