Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of four years (the father of my two little boys) and I have decided to separate. We got along, but when we did argue, it escalated. We bought a home together a year ago, but two weeks ago he moved back to his parents' house. We alternate the boys every two or three days.

Our issues could have been fixed, but we were too prideful. Now I'm starting to have regrets -- what have I done? We could have been a family for our little boys. I wanted this separation in order to work on myself and repair our relationship. But he seems happier now and is enjoying the separation, while I cry myself to sleep hoping that one day we will get back together. How do I move forward to truly be happy for myself and my boys? -- SAD MOMMY IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SAD MOMMY: People move forward by learning from their mistakes. Wait another week or so and ask your former boyfriend how he feels about relationship counseling to settle your issues. If he is truly happier living with his parents and unwilling to do the work necessary for a lasting relationship, give yourself time to heal from this breakup, and when you are emotionally balanced again, start moving on with your life.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Family & Parenting

DNA Testing Threatens To Reveal Secret Affair

DEAR ABBY: Sixty years ago I had a brief extramarital affair that resulted in the birth of a son. For a multitude of reasons I have never revealed the identity of his biological father to him or anyone else. I recently learned his daughter is doing some DNA testing, and I'm afraid my long-ago lie will be discovered. I do not want my son, my granddaughter or anyone else to discover it this way. Do you have any advice on how I should handle it? -- HOLDING ONTO A SECRET

DEAR HOLDING: If possible, meet with your son in person and tell him the whole story. Do it in quiet, private surroundings. I am sure he will have many questions, and you should be prepared to answer them honestly. I agree with you that he should hear this news from you rather than his daughter.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

Advice Is Best Delivered Directly

DEAR ABBY: I don't think I've ever seen this suggestion in your column, but maybe it's just too obvious. When a reader sends a letter and receives advice from you, why doesn't that reader give that "Dear Abby" column to the "problem" person? No confrontation, no interpretation -- just counsel straight from Abby's mouth, so to speak. That's what I would do if you gave me advice. -- LOGICAL IN FLORIDA

DEAR LOGICAL: I hope not. The most unwelcome "advice" in the world is that which is unasked for. Some readers have clipped my column and sent it anonymously to someone they thought "needed" it, but I think the practice is cruel and cowardly. If you have a friend you think has a problem, "suggest" the person write me for an unbiased opinion if you wish. But to do what you are suggesting could be considered a breach of someone's privacy and cause hurt feelings.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)