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DEAR ABBY: My twin sister and I are juniors in high school and starting to plan to apply to colleges. It has always been assumed that we would go to the same college and be roommates. My sister still wants it this way. I, however, think it's finally time for some separation. We've been "roommates" our whole lives and shared a bed until we were 14, when Mom finally let us get twin beds for our room.

My sister was hurt and upset when I told her I prefer that we go to separate colleges, and she took it personally. It is nothing personal. I love her with all my heart. I would just like to finally be an individual after us having always being known as "the twins."

Our mom agrees with my sister and tells me stories about friends of hers whose kids ended up with "roommates from hell." She says we have always gotten along beautifully sharing a room, so why argue with success? Well, I'm willing to take my chances. If I get a roommate I don't like, I'll find a way to deal with it.

Please give me your opinion. Also, please give me advice on how to make my sister understand that this is nothing against her. -- TWIN SISTER

DEAR TWIN SISTER: My mother and my aunt were identical twins. Like you, they shared a room and slept in the same bed for many years. Their parents dressed them alike and gave them names that were mirror images (Pauline Esther and Esther Pauline). Like you, my aunt yearned to be an individual. My mother loved the attention that being a twin brought. This created serious conflict for them later in life.

You deserve the chance to spread your wings and be your own person. If you do, you will grow from the experience, and so will your sister. You should not have to "sell" her on this, but explain it to your sister that way. Your mother should be glad that you are independent.


DEAR ABBY: I strongly feel this is an issue many women besides me struggle with. Maybe you can offer some insight.

My husband and I have been trying to conceive without success for several years. I don't want to reveal our struggles to friends or family, but how do you handle questions like "Why don't you have a baby yet?" and "When are you giving me grandkids?"

The older we get, the more pointed these questions become. I don't know how to respond. What should I say? I feel like either lying and saying I'm not ready yet, or telling the truth about the possibility of never having children, although I'm sure the questioner doesn't intend to go down the path of "Let's discuss my fertility." -- STRUGGLING IN WEST VIRGINIA

DEAR STRUGGLING: I'm sure many of the questioners have no idea they are delving into a subject that is painful and frustrating for you. Perhaps the most diplomatic answer would be to say, "If I'm lucky enough to be expecting, I will let you know." It shows you are open to the possibility, and it's either going to happen or it won't.

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