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by Abigail Van Buren

Dad's Affair Brings Misery to His Family and to Him

DEAR ABBY: My dad started an affair with a woman who is four years older than I am. He met her when he hired her for her "services." Fast-forward a year: He has left my mom. Mom left the state and has moved in with me. She's trying to rebuild her life, but she's still very much in love with my dad.

Dad, on the other hand, is miserable. His girlfriend is controlling to the point that he's not allowed to talk to his children or grandchildren. She's an alcoholic who mentally, verbally and physically abuses him. He recently left her and came to stay at my house. He told Mom and me that he wanted a fresh start.

Abby, he was here for less than 48 hours and went back to the girlfriend! I am convinced that he either has a drug problem or he's sick. He has lost an extreme amount of weight. I have no idea how to help him and I'm terrified that he is going to die.

Now he won't talk to me. He left while I was at work so he wouldn't have to face me. I don't understand why he would come here only to turn right around and leave. I am disgusted, disappointed and angry. Should I cut all ties with him until he gets his life together? -- DISAPPOINTED DAUGHTER

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Considering what has been going on, your feelings are natural. However, because you are unsure about what is driving your father -- addiction, illness, indecision, etc. -- do not "cut all ties." Leave the door ajar a little longer. There's a saying, "It ain't over 'til it's over." Victims sometimes need several attempts to leave their abusers, and your dad may be no exception.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Marriage & Divorce | Abuse | Addiction