DEAR ABBY: A short time ago, I experienced a terrible loss. I came home from work one evening and found "Martin," my boyfriend of almost 17 years, dead at the bottom of the stairs. I later found out he had been drinking.
I never saw Martin drinking before. He did it very rarely. He didn't go to bars, and he would never drink and drive. He did have a close friend who would visit him on occasion, and they would drink beer together.
Abby, I feel deceived and betrayed on top of the terrible grief I can't seem to overcome. Martin knew how I felt about drinking because I was previously married to an alcoholic for 19 years. How do I get past this? - WOUNDED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR WOUNDED: Please accept my deepest sympathy, not only for your loss, but for the manner in which you found your boyfriend. It had to have been an awful shock.
Are you absolutely certain his death was alcohol-related? Was there an autopsy? People have been known to suffer strokes or massive heart attacks that can take them suddenly, and if Martin was on the stairs, something like that could have caused his fall rather than the fact he had alcohol in his system.
A way to move past your anger and disappointment would be to look further into what happened if that's possible, and if his cause of death is what you suspect, forgive him. Hanging onto anger and bitterness is not healthy for you.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 4 1/2 years. Most of them have not been good. When we have disagreements, he calls me names and then gives me the silent treatment, sometimes for weeks at a time. We tried counseling. It was initially helpful, but he refuses to go anymore, saying "it didn't work." (We went to three one-hour sessions.)
I'm trapped financially because I can't afford our mortgage alone (he threatens me financially when we argue by not contributing his agreed-upon share into our household account). I don't have the means to move out while still paying my share of the mortgage. I have three dogs, so renting is practically impossible. I'm lost, and I don't know what to do. I cannot continue living in silence anymore. Help! - MISERABLE IN FLORIDA
DEAR MISERABLE: A good marriage is like heaven; a bad one is like living with a truly unpleasant cellmate. Pick up the phone, start interviewing divorce attorneys and tell them everything you have told me. I think you will be pleasantly surprised that you do not HAVE to remain married. Consider selling the house. That way you may not wind up with nothing. If you are unable to find homes for your dogs, contact pet rescue groups in your area and explain the situation.
You did not mention whether you have family you might be able to stay with until you are financially stable, but whether they can accommodate you or not, let them know what you have been going through. All of life is a learning experience, and there is life after you close this unhappy chapter.
DEAR READERS: As a fan of longer, brighter days and warmer weather, I'm pleased to issue my annual reminder to those of you who live where daylight saving time is observed: Don't forget to turn your clocks forward one hour tonight at bedtime. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. tomorrow. Spring is on the way! - ABBY
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.