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Man's Talk of Suicide Keeps Woman in Their Relationship

DEAR ABBY: A year ago, after five years of marriage, I divorced my ex-husband, "Taylor." We agreed to separate because I believed I had fallen out of love with him. We have remained friendly and communicate often.

Since the divorce, I have struggled with feelings of guilt and the creeping suspicion that I have made a mistake. I think I am still in love with him. Taylor desperately wants us to get remarried, and lately I have been considering it. However, I have another issue to consider.

For the past few months, I have been seeing another man, "Jacob." Although he is sweet and affectionate, Jacob is needy, clingy and struggles with depression and anxiety. He often expresses suicidal thoughts over problems in his life, including the thought of me leaving him. He is in therapy, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

I am terrified of breaking up with him to reconcile with my ex-husband because I honestly believe Jacob would kill himself, and I could not live with that. Any advice would be appreciated. -- IN A HARD SPOT IN ALABAMA

DEAR HARD SPOT: Jacob is in therapy. Write a letter to his therapist and explain your concerns. That way the therapist will understand in advance that his/her patient may be heading for a rough patch. Regardless of whether Jacob is serious about killing himself should you end the relationship, for your own sake, you must not allow yourself to become a prisoner of his illness. That dynamic is unhealthy for you.

I must caution you, however, not to allow yourself to be pressured into reconciling with your ex unless both of you have premarital counseling so you won't fall back into the pattern that destroyed your marriage. Whether it was lack of communication, boredom, a dull sex life -- you both must understand where it went off track and take steps to correct it before remarrying.

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