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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: The following story is fictitious: A man in his late 20s goes to bed with a 14-year-old girl. He gets caught, is arrested, and goes to prison for a few years where he is subject to all kinds of dangers in prison because of his crime.

The following story is real: A married woman in her late 20s goes to bed with a 14-year-old boy. They are having an affair. The boy and this woman do their frolicking when her husband is at work during his graveyard shift. This boy is some kind of "hero" to his friends, and even to some adults! Why?

This is a double standard in its ugliest fashion. If an underage girl has sex with an adult male, then it is a case of, "Poor girl, he must have taken advantage of her."

When an underage boy has sex with an adult woman, it turns into, "What a stud, atta boy -- learn early!"

Furthermore, I have never heard of a case where a woman went to prison for having sex with underage boys. Isn't it a crime? I am not saying that one is right and the other is not. They're both wrong. Why, however, do women get away with this awful crime? -- FRESNO FRANK

DEAR FRESNO FRANK: Women "get away" with it if the parents of the underage boy are unwilling to charge the woman with having sex with a minor. But regardless of who takes advantage of a minor of either sex -- that person is guilty of statutory rape.

DEAR ABBY: The problem I'm about to tell you is one you probably never heard before.

My husband and I have been married for 14 years and have two great sons. My husband and I have had problems we've tried to resolve with counseling, but the counseling didn't work, so I decided I wanted to leave him while I was young enough to make a happier life for myself.

I called my father-in-law and asked to see him privately so he wouldn't be too shocked when I left his son. Well, he picked me up and we went for a drive out in the country.

When I gave him my news -- he gave me some. He said he and his wife never had a really good marriage, but he stayed with her because of their children, who are all grown now. Then he told me he's always had special feelings for me -- but he would never follow through on them because I belonged to his son.

To make a long story short, we confessed our love for each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together, but we don't know how my sons will feel about having their grandfather for a stepfather. It's a mess, but you only live once. What should we do? -- TRUE STORY

DEAR TRUE STORY: You both need to see a marriage counselor -- but not the one you and your husband saw. Please, think this out carefully and make no announcements before you are certain that your decisions are sound, solid and will stand the test of time.

DEAR ABBY: After reading your wonderful booklet, "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It," what advice do you have for people who are on the receiving end? How does one respond to people who have "lost it" and are venting their anger on you? -- BEEN THERE

DEAR BEEN THERE: If they become physical, get out of their way and put as much distance as you can between them and you. But if they're venting their anger verbally, you'd be wise to simply listen. Anger expressed is anger defused.

This one's for everybody, from teens to seniors! To purchase Abby's new booklet, "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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