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Dear Abby: I have lived in an abusive marriage for 11 years. Now, when I have finally mustered the courage to leave, everybody says I must stay “for the children” as he is a “changed man.”

I no longer love him and he refuses to give me a divorce. He also refuses to admit there is anything wrong in the marriage. I have tried counseling and therapy alone because he refused to join me. I do not want my four children to be affected by my choice and wish for a mutual discussion, but he doesn’t want to discuss divorce. I am afraid to stay and afraid to leave. I have no support system here.

– Wants Out in Illinois

Dear Wants Out: After 11 years of abuse and counseling and therapy alone because your husband would not accompany you, his wishes should no longer affect your decision. Pick up the phone and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233. That’s the place to find information about how to form an escape plan for yourself and your children. Whether your husband is willing to discuss divorce or not, he cannot force you to remain married to him. An attorney can help you with the process once you are out of there.

Express your feelings

Dear Abby: My boyfriend and I have been dating for 11 months. He’s 18 and I’m 17. Every date we go on is initiated and planned by me. For once, I’d like to be surprised and swept off my feet by his actually planning a date. I don’t know how to go about this. I want to tell him without hurting his feelings.

– Getting A Little Bored in Quakertown, Pa.

Dear Getting A Little Bored: The basis for a successful relationship is communication. While I don’t advise you to tell your boyfriend that you’re “getting a little bored,” I do think it would be helpful to express that you’d like HIM to plan your dates once or twice a month so you don’t have to do all the work in maintaining the relationship. That’s not hurtful; it’s truthful.