DEAR ABBY: I recently ended my 11-year relationship with my high school sweetheart, "Kent." During the two years we were engaged he had become a cheating, abusive alcoholic.
My problem is my mother. She hired Kent while we were together, and he's still with her. I asked her to let him go, but she refused. She's the closest thing to family Kent has left. She feels she can "help him get on his feet." I have a restraining order against him and feel his employment with Mom is in direct violation.
I cannot forgive her for this betrayal, and I will no longer have a relationship with her. The person who should be there for me -- my mother -- is not. I don't know how to get through to her. She thinks she's doing nothing wrong and refuses to accept that she's enabling Kent. She reads your column, Abby, so please give us some advice. -- LOST IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR LOST: That a mother would provide "aid and comfort" to a man who cheated on her daughter and was so physically abusive that it required a restraining order, indicates she may have as many problems as he does. Her reaction is not normal, and I don't have the power to make her see the light any more than you do. I do, however, have some advice for you. Get professional counseling, go on with your life and do not look back.
DEAR ABBY: What causes someone to do everything he or she can to keep from being happy? I had the chance to have a wonderful life and career, but I did everything I could to sabotage myself.
Now, at 55, I'm looking back on an empty and meaningless life.
I was blessed with many things going for me, but I blew them all. I wish I could have enjoyed my life and the successful career I could have had. What is my problem? -- REGRETFUL IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR REGRETFUL: Nobody is born with a blueprint for life, and everybody sooner or later makes a mistake they regret. You made your choices and second-guessing them now is negative and counterproductive. The trick is to not repeat those mistakes and to stop looking backward when you should be taking the life lessons you learned from them and moving forward. If you do, there will be fewer stumbles along the way.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I once thought we'd be empty nesters as our children went off to college and the military. But the last one came home after graduation to "seek employment" and "help us out for a while."
We love "Ian" with all our hearts, but he has a job now. Although he doesn't make enough to buy a house yet, he could at least rent an apartment. He has a steady girlfriend and he spends more time at her place than ours.
Did I forget to mention that Ian is 30? He is also considered one of our community's "prime catches." He's courteous, dresses well and is nice to everyone. Abby, at what point do we tell our son that we love him but need him to move on with his life? -- CARING MOTHER IN IOWA
DEAR CARING MOTHER: How about tonight? And if that's not possible because he's spending the night at his girlfriend's -- as soon as he returns home. Don't be unkind about it, but do be firm and agree on a date after which you expect him to be out.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $12 (U.S. funds)
to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)