DEAR ABBY: I am 23 years old and was previously involved with a man who, at the beginning of our relationship, was married. At the time, I was 17 and about to graduate from high school, and had no previous relationship with a man.
As our relationship progressed, his wife found out about us and divorced him. They had a child who was born in the midst of their divorce. I thought the split would send him flying to my arms. However, that was not the case at all. Instead, he proceeded to sleep with everyone in a skirt who would give him the time of day. He denied our involvement with each other to everyone.
Even knowing all of this, I stayed for three years, and in the process I lost everything -- family, friends, jobs, just about everything I cherished. More important, I lost sight of myself, my goals, and the person I once thought I was. I thought if I loved him enough, he would change. Well, it didn't happen. What did happen was he got someone pregnant and lived with her for a year and a half. It was the last straw for me. I packed up and moved north and regained my life.
I stopped dating for a long time, found the best job I've ever had, and am back in school working on my degree. I am living on my own, and my life is better now than it's been in years.
Recently he left that other woman and has begun to better himself. He has a good job now and has matured a lot in the last five years. We have been talking, and he tells me that he loves me and has asked me to marry him.
Although he and I have been talking, I haven't told anyone in my family or my friends. I know they would not accept him.
Abby, I'm afraid of the outcome. I thought I had closed this chapter in my life, but now I'm not so sure. I always wanted to marry the first man I had ever been intimate with, and he seems genuine this time around. Should I give him a second chance? I know he put me through hell, and I'm leery of repeating it. Should I try again and hope it all works out? -- LOST IN LOVE, WOODLAND HILLS, CALIF.
DEAR LOST IN LOVE: When people ask me whether they should listen to their hearts or their heads, I advise them to listen to the part of their anatomy they THINK with.
It has taken you a long time to get your life back on track. This man sounds like a one-person wrecking crew. Should you try again "and hope it all works out"? Absolutely not.