DEAR ABBY: I am a young mother who is stuck at a fork in the road. Whichever path I choose will lead to guilt and regret.
I love my son more than anything, like any mother does, but he always wants to be at his father's house -- no matter what. My son asks me four times a day -- or more -- when he will return to his father's house. I feel as though he wants his father more than me. His father tells me he has to force our son to return to my house.
Abby, I have done nothing but pour sweat and love into my son. I have done everything a 20-year-old can do to raise my boy.
My problem is, my father works for a college, and I can attend for free. But it's 840 miles away. Custody has never been established between my son's father and me, and he does not want my son to go with me. My son does not want to come, either.
I have never been to college. I work for $8 an hour and have been for three years. The thought of leaving my son kills me. I want to take this opportunity, but at the same time I wonder if I should just stay with my job and be near my son. I cry over this every day. Please help me decide. -- TORN IN COLORADO
DEAR TORN: I'm glad to help. You should definitely take the opportunity to complete your education, which will help you to better provide for yourself and your child in the future.
However, before you go, I strongly recommend that you discuss the situation with an attorney who specializes in family law. I don't know what has been going on in your house -- or your child's father's house -- that has biased the boy the way it appears he has been. But a custody arrangement should absolutely be worked out before you leave, and it may take a judge to decide what would be appropriate. I can't do it for you via long distance.