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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: If my husband knew I was writing to you, he'd swear I was nuts. But I have a problem I have never seen addressed. I read your column every day, and most of the time I agree with you and respect your opinion.

My husband's best friend, "Earl" (not married), has been cornering me alone and keeps saying he has always loved me! I have tried avoiding him, and he tries to avoid me when he's sober. However, we are social drinkers, and since they are such good friends, there are times we can't avoid each other. I have never encouraged Earl and have let him know that I'm very much in love with my husband -- but that doesn't stop him.

Should I tell my husband? I'm afraid if I don't, he'll hear Earl one day and think there's something going on. They have been friends for years, and I'm afraid if I tell, their friendship will be hurt, and I'd never do anything to hurt either one of them.

Your thoughts on this, please. -- IN A BIND IN BATON ROUGE

DEAR IN A BIND: You are much too kindhearted. If the shoe were on the other food, and your best friend began hitting on your husband every time she got a snoot full, wouldn't you want to know?

Corner Earl in the cold, sober light of day and tell him that his unwelcome advances have made you uncomfortable for the last time and if it happens again, you WILL tell your husband. And if you're put on the spot again -- do it.

DEAR ABBY: A friend of ours has a 7-year-old son who molested our 7-year-old child. We alerted our friend to the situation, and she confronted her son, who admitted the act.

From what our child told us, this was not just "curiosity." Our friend took her son to a child psychiatrist and informed us that they discovered the boy had been molested for over a year by an older boy. Then we were told that he would have to be in therapy anywhere from six months to a year.

After two or three visits to the doctor, the mother stopped taking him because it was too upsetting for the child, and he would cry and get sick before the appointment, so no more therapy.

Do you think this is wise? Since he was molested and has acted out on other children (ours was not the only one -- there were several), should he or should he not be in therapy? I believe he should. -- CONCERNED FRIEND

DEAR CONCERNED FRIEND: I, too, believe the boy should be in therapy. Is the boy rebelling because he dislikes the therapy -- or the therapist? Perhaps another therapist could be a solution.

DEAR ABBY: Bravo to you for your recent response to the letter from the Canadian woman whose husband was in prison.

My father went to prison just before I was born. My mother always told me he was "in the Army," since, like your reader, she didn't think I was old enough to understand. Unfortunately, the neighborhood children didn't take my young age into consideration when they informed me that my father was a "jailbird."

Later, my mother apologized for her mistake in not being the one to tell me the truth, even though it wasn't pretty. She never lied to me again about anything, as she expected me to always be truthful with her.

How much better it will be for your Canadian reader's children to hear the truth from someone who can convey it to them in a loving, sensitive manner. They have the added bonus of their father not being guilty of the crime. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about my father. -- EVERGREEN, COLO.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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