The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Life - Email Carolyn at [email protected]­

Dear Carolyn: I was mar­ried to my ex for 20 years when we di­vorced. I wasn’t at­trac­tive to him any­more since I gained weight with our three chil­dren – his ex­act words.

I am now mar­ried to a woman. I have found my­self on the re­ceiv­ing end of punches from her mul­ti­ple times, each time with apolo­gies. Re­cently, I was in our bed­room with the door locked, as I could tell she was an­gry. She be­gan to beat the door down. Two of my chil­dren were home, and I’m guess­ing they didn’t hear what was hap­pen­ing.

When I let my wife in, she punched me and I couldn’t catch my breath.

I can’t bear the shame of an­other di­vorce. I don’t know what I’d tell peo­ple, what I’d tell my chil­dren. I am try­ing to move on with her, and for­give, but this time feels dif­fer­ent. I feel so ashamed that I let my­self get here.


Dear Anony­mous: I’d like the names of every­one on the panel who cre­ated the so­cial law that one di­vorce is ac­cept­able, but two di­vorces are so harm­ful to one’s record as a hu­man be­ing that the sec­ond di­vorce must be avoided at all costs – thereby free­ing all sec­ond spouses to punch the breath from their part­ners’ bod­ies.

There is no li­cense for any­one to punch the breath out of any­one ex­cept in self-de­fense.

You loved, you trusted, you tried; you are wor­thy. Please do not sab­o­tage your­self with shame. The blame for abuse falls to abusers alone.

I un­der­stand that shame is a nat­u­ral feel­ing. I urge you to think of it as some­thing you walk through to the other side, though, vs. crawl un­der to hide.

It is im­por­tant to stop this self-sab­o­tage be­cause you don’t want your chil­dren to learn from you that ab­sorb­ing abuse is OK.

I’m quite con­fi­dent yours did hear, by the way.

Since your mar­riage ef­fec­tively ended when your wife turned abu­sive, the steps you take now to end it are just the pa­per­work and lo­gis­tics. Start with a lawyer, solo, now. 1-800-799-SAFE if you need help.

What you tell peo­ple is your own busi­ness, and can in­clude any­thing from, “She hit me,” to, “That’s private,” to a rhetor­i­cal, “Why do you ask?” You owe your­self kind­ness and you owe your kids safety, but you don’t owe any­one any­thing else.

As you ad­dress the le­gal as­pect, please also ad­dress the emo­tional with a rep­utable ther­a­pist – again, solo and now. Start with how tough you’ve been on your­self – don’t hide it, you’re not alone, many have lived this. Good coun­sel­ing can help you find and re­in­force your in­her­ent strengths.

Some days you’ll feel stronger than others, so be ready for the bad ones when they come: Every time you face the hard work of sur­mount­ing an ob­sta­cle, re­mind your­self, “Bet­ter this than hit.” Take care.

Dear Carolyn: My 19-year-old daugh­ter needs re­li­able trans­porta­tion at col­lege in or­der to com­plete re­quired in­tern­ships and work part time. My hus­band re­fuses to help her with this be­cause we al­ready pay for her ex­pen­sive out-of-state school and he bought his first car on his own. I do not want my daugh­ter driv­ing in New Eng­land with­out mod­ern safety fea­tures.

We are ar­gu­ing about this fre­quently. What are your thoughts?


Dear Ar­gu­ing: Fre­quent ar­gu­ing is a ter­ri­ble prob­lem-solv­ing tool.

So if you do want to get this solved, then look at every vari­able as pos­si­ble room for com­pro­mise. Base­line safety vs. ex­cess, new vs. used, lease vs. buy, she makes pay­ments or you do. Can she bor­row $X of her tu­ition in re­turn for a parentally bought $X-dol­lar car? Then she’s pay­ing for it, just later.

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