DEAR ABBY: Five years ago, my husband got drunk and physically attacked me in front of his family. It was horrible. I was in shock, and our relationship never recovered.
The next four years were a series of court visits for custody of our child and eventually a divorce. Last year, his mother began requesting visits with our son. I was happy about it because I have tried to be accommodating to my ex and his family regarding our son.
Finally, late last year, I called my ex to ask if we could sit down and discuss our son (something we had never done). We have met twice during the last two weeks, and each time had long conversations about everything. (Our son, our past, our relationship.) Many misconceptions were cleared up, and it's obvious that we both have made many necessary changes within ourselves.
Now I'm confused about what comes next. Speaking with him has brought back so many feelings. Prior to the attack, our stress levels had been high and our communication was terrible, but there had been no physical violence. I'm not sure if this is the universe giving us an opportunity to give the family we started another chance. Should we start over? -- WAVERING IN NEW YORK
DEAR WAVERING: What comes next might be that you and your ex can become good friends and parent your son in a congenial, cooperative fashion. What comes next might be that you rekindle your romance. Or it might be that you get back together and he assaults you again.
If your ex has sought help for his drinking and anger management issues, a reconciliation could work out beautifully. However, if he hasn't, I certainly wouldn't recommend it. Sometimes people can care deeply about each other, but shouldn't be married.
DEAR ABBY: My 95-year-old mom feels that her age "entitles" her to speak without a filter, and she has become totally intolerant and critical. She is mentally sharp and highly intelligent, which makes her nasty comments even more hurtful to family and friends.
Standing up to her isn't an option because of her age and she knows it. She doesn't seem to recognize how damaging her attitude has become to those who love her. If you could print this and offer some advice, she might recognize herself. -- A LOVING SON
DEAR LOVING SON: The fact that someone has celebrated 95 birthdays does not give the person license to be deliberately unkind to others. Negativity is an unattractive trait, regardless of how old you are. People who deliberately say hurtful things invariably find the circle of those who want to be around them shrinking.
My advice to your mother would be, before opening her mouth, ask herself whether what she has to say is true, helpful and kind. And if it isn't all three, she should rephrase her comment or not say it at all.
DEAR ABBY: What does one say to casual acquaintances who stop by uninvited and with no prior phone call? -- NANCY IN AURORA, COLO.
DEAR NANCY: Let me tell you first what one doesn't say. It's "Come in!" It is perfectly acceptable to explain that the person caught you in the middle of your housework or a project you need to finish and, please, in the future to call before dropping by so you can make some plans together.
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