Abusive hubby's sick. Should she divorce?

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: My husband, "Steve," is verbally abusive.

Early in our 42-year marriage, his hurtful comments were painful, but I accepted them, as he was an otherwise wonderful husband and father. To the rest of the world, he was, and still is, kind and considerate, but at home he vents his stress as rage. Please don't suggest anger management or an evaluation for depression. Steve insists I'm the problem. (I have had counseling.) Now that our children are married adults, I would like a divorce. However, we just learned Steve has inoperable cancer. As I've hidden the abuse from family and friends, who continue to adore him, they would resent me for deserting Steve in his time of need if I sought a divorce. It hurts me to see him suffer, but I am growing resentful.Long-Suffering Wife

DEAR WIFE: There might be a way to protect yourself without wholesale "deserting" your husband in his time of need.

Find somewhere else to stay while still providing him with assistance. Your children should step up to help with your husband's care.

Tell him, "I will not abandon you, but I won't take any more abuse either. If you abuse me, I'll call someone to come here to stay with you, and I'll have to leave."

DEAR AMY: Did you fall and hit your head when you were composing your response to "Flabbergasted"? His wife is infatuated with another man, and she wants to go to "the other man's" high school reunion. How can you suggest that he "choose to not let this issue control him" and "reclaim some power by attending this event with his wife"? The only way for him to reclaim some power and self-esteem is to seize the family assets and change the locks.


DEAR M: My intent was for Flabbergasted to call his wife's bluff. I agree that I didn't express this well.