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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Former drug user looks for a way out of toxic relationship

by Abigail Van Buren | August 21, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: I’m a 39-year-old woman in a toxic relationship with my boyfriend. We had a child together but lost custody due to drug use. He treats me badly, but I stay because we have gone through so much.

A couple of years ago, I got dentures because I ruined my teeth when I was using, and now I’m afraid no one will want to be with me because of them. I don’t know how I will be able to meet someone who can see past them and my drug history so I can be in a healthy relationship that I deserve. How do I move past my insecurities so I can be happy for once? — Embarrassed In Arizona

Dear Embarrassed: You have successfully battled drug addiction, so you are clearly not unused to “challenges.” I applaud you for what you’ve accomplished, and others should too.

Don’t let your fear of being alone to prevent you from reclaiming your life. Your abuser is not healthy for you. You have already invested too much time in him. If you rely on him for financial support, find a job. Make arrangements with friends or family so you can eventually save enough to live independently.

After you have left him, being alone does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. In your case it could be therapeutic. Once you are financially stable, consult a dentist or a school of dentistry about what options you might have besides dentures. The only thing holding you back at this point is yourself.

Dear Abby: I am a mother of three, ages 13, 5 and 3. My kids are happy and healthy.

Any time I go to my parents’ house or they drop in on me for a quick visit, they have to “point out” that it is a mess or that my oldest is wearing jeans with holes in them. There’s always a negative comment, never a positive one. My oldest has started to notice. It makes it hard to spend time with my parents. I’m wondering if I can say anything.

I can’t even cut or color my hair without ridicule. My oldest got her nails done and there was a negative comment about that. A few years ago, there was a blowout between my mom and me over my son’s haircut. I’m at the point where I don’t want to go to their house, but I don’t want to keep my kids from them. — Annoyed In Idaho

Dear Annoyed: Say something like this to your parents: “I have noticed, and the children have started noticing, that when you visit you usually have something negative to say about me, my home and even them. It is hurtful and I want it stopped. If it persists you won’t be invited.” If it continues, please remember it is your right as your children’s mother to buffer comments from their grandparents that make them self-conscious.

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 P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles,CA 90069 or visit


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