DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, I divorced my abusive husband of 23 years. However, when he remarried I fell apart. Friends we have in common tell me they are happy, and his new wife is “good for him.”

Thoughts of why he could change for someone else, but not for his own family (we had two sons) eat me up. It has been a year since his wedding, and I am still hurting as if I want him back. Please help me. – CRYING IN CALIFORNIA

Dry your tears and straighten up. Your husband and his new wife are still newlyweds. Leopards don’t change their spots. His abuse of her may not have begun yet, because most abusers take some time to chisel away at their victim’s self-esteem before the actual abuse starts happening. Also, these “common friends” may not be privy to what goes on behind closed doors. Most abused women blame themselves for it, and are so ashamed they keep it a secret.

Because you are still hurting and comparing yourself unfavorably to the “new” missus, it’s time to talk to your doctor about a referral to a licensed psychotherapist who can talk this out with you. It will be money well-spent. Consider it a shortcut to feeling better about yourself and the wise decision you made to get away from your abuser.

DEAR ABBY: My sister, “Lindy,” has lived with my fiance, “Reid,” and me since the death of our mother two years ago. Dad died when I was 12, so there was no other option for my sister.

Everything was going fine until a month ago, when Lindy told me she was pregnant. I was upset because she is only 17. Lindy insisted that things were going to be “fine” because the baby’s father was older and well-off.

One night last week, Lindy and Reid (who is 28) sat me down to have a talk about her pregnancy – and told me that Reid is the father of the baby! I am devastated at their betrayal. I can’t believe that Reid, the love of my life, and my little sister, whom I’d considered my best friend, would sleep together. I have let them both live with me and carried them financially for the last two years.

I am beside myself and don’t know what to do. I want to kick them out, but I’m afraid for the baby, and I can’t just turn my sister out into the streets. I love my fiance and can’t bear to let him go, but his actions have proven that he doesn’t love me like I love him.

You’re the only person I can talk to about this. Please help me, Abby. – BETRAYED IN THE MIDWEST

Call off the engagement and get your two-timing deadbeat “fiance” out of there immediately. You have been his meal ticket for far too long. What your sister did might be chalked up to immaturity, but Reid is an adult. Do not let it escape you that he has used you both.

If you can handle it, let Lindy stay until she’s 18 and has her high school diploma. That way, she can provide for herself and the baby if she decides to keep it. The baby is not your responsibility; it is Lindy’s and Reid’s. If you remember that, you’ll shield yourself from pain and aggravation in the future.

DEAR ABBY: Could you settle an argument between me and my husband? We’ve been married only four months.

I get out of the shower and dry off, or walk into the bedroom to dry off. He says I should dry off in the shower. Who is correct? – ANN FROM FLORIDA

You should dry off wherever you are more comfortable drying off, and if your controlling new husband doesn’t like it, then HE should dry you off in the shower.

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

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