:Dear Abby: I have lived in an abusive marriage for 11 years. Now, when I have finally mustered the courage to leave, everybody says I must stay “for the children” as he is a “changed man.”
I no longer love him, and he refuses to give me a divorce. He also refuses to admit there is anything wrong in the marriage and says I’m exaggerating everything.
I have tried counseling and therapy alone because he refused to join me. I do not want my four children to be affected by my choice and wish for a mutual discussion, but he doesn’t want to discuss divorce. I am afraid to stay and afraid to leave. I have no support system here.
Wants Out in Illinois
Dear Wants Out: After 11 years of abuse and counseling and therapy alone because your husband would not accompany you, his wishes should no longer affect your decision. Pick up the phone and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233. That’s the place to find information about how to form an escape plan for yourself and your children. Whether your husband is willing to discuss divorce or not, he cannot force you to remain married to him. An attorney can help you with the process once you are out of there.
Dear Abby: I’m a 23-year-old woman with a university degree, fulfilling job, downtown apartment and busy social life. I am also heavily tattooed. My tattoos bring me a great deal of happiness. I work in a field where visible tattoos are acceptable, and I’m very good at covering them when necessary.
My problem is how to politely deal with strangers who criticize my tattoos when I’m out in public. I have been told I have “ruined” myself, that I have no future, that I’ll never find a husband, that I am ugly, an insult to women and trashy. I do not dress scantily and, in my opinion, these comments are uncalled for.