Life Advice



Ask Amy: Volatile relationship benefits from separation

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Am I completely off my rocker to think things might still work between us? Or should I cut my losses and try to start my life over?

– Woeful Woman

Dear Woeful: You should not risk your physical or emotional safety — or your sobriety – in order to live with your husband.

Based on your narrative, it seems that the majority of your time together has been marked by anger and strife – on both sides. Can you two move forward in a relationship where many of the triggers might remain, but all of your familiar coping mechanisms have been removed? You’ll have to see.

If you are working your sobriety program, I assume that you have become acquainted with the “one day at a time” model.

My point is that thinking of this as all-or-nothing might not be the wisest course right now.


You and he should remain separated so you can both experience what life is like when you’re actually living differently as individuals in recovery.

The answer to your dilemma is likely to present itself over the course of the next six months or so.

Even if you decide to permanently part, you should not have to surrender your friendship.

Dear Amy: My girlfriend and I have been together for about five years. We are both progressing in our careers and making strides personally, professionally, and as a couple.


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