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Dear Abby: I got engaged to a man who left his partner for me, now he’s become abusive

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DEAR ABBY: I’m having a hard time deciding what to do about my engagement to my fiance. We met at our old job. Before we got together, he was with someone else, and while he says he didn’t leave her for me, I am sure I helped. 

I have low self-esteem, so I couldn’t understand why he left her for me. But he told me I was lucky he cared about me so much because he could have still been friends with her. I did tell him that I wouldn’t care as long as I knew. We finally moved into an apartment together, and he started a new job with an old friend he drinks with. 

Since the move, he has become very verbally abusive, and I have developed anxiety and panic attacks. I have also developed a fear of driving. He tells me I need to quit being stupid and to grow up. He doesn’t like to talk about problems. He likes to pretend they never happened. If I try to discuss things that upset me, there is always an argument and I’m always in the wrong. When I work late or if I’m not home, he gets upset, drinks and breaks stuff. 

He proposed a year into our relationship when things were OK. I’m trying to do anything I can to make this not miserable, but it’s not enough. What do you think I should do? — NOT REALLY HAPPY IN MICHIGAN

DEAR NOT REALLY HAPPY: When problems can’t be discussed, they also can’t be resolved. I think it’s time to calmly evaluate the status quo and decide if you really want to spend the rest of your life with an insecure, domineering, abusive partner who has a drinking problem. If the answer is no, make other living arrangements. Pack your belongings, inform him the romance is over (do this only when he is sober AND you have a witness) and leave. 

If you have any reason to think this charmer may become violent, first call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 to put together a safe escape plan. Believe me, you can do better than this.

DEAR ABBY: Whenever I’m out early for a medical or dental appointment, early church services, etc., I usually stop at a fast-food drive-through and bring home breakfast. My neighbor is a single mother who works at home due to the pandemic, and I buy something for her and her son and leave it on her porch. I remember times when I was still working and a co-worker would bring in breakfast treats, and how much I enjoyed them. 

My wife has told me to stop because, she says, my neighbor will think I’m a “dirty old man.” My neighbor and I hardly ever speak except to say hello, and I never give her another thought. What do you think? — PASSING IT ON IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR PASSING: When you pick up those breakfasts, do you bring something home for your wife as well? If the answer is no, your wife may be insecure about the attention you are paying to this neighbor. From my perspective, what you have been doing is a kindness.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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