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by Abigail Van Buren

Sexually Active Daughter Is Afraid to Confide in Mom

DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend for four months and recently lost my virginity to him. I am incredibly in love with him.

I would like to tell my mother about losing my virginity because I want to get on birth control pills, but I'm afraid of how she'll react.

My mom is very understanding and I can usually tell her anything, but I'm afraid that if I tell her this, she'll try to keep me from seeing my boyfriend. She likes him a lot and has always trusted us. Please help me. -- AFRAID SHE'LL END IT IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR AFRAID: Sex is a grown-up responsibility, and since you have taken the step, it is extremely important that you act with maturity. Your mother is your best friend, and although she may be disappointed, she will understand. Now that you are sexually active, it is essential that you practice birth control and learn what you need to know about sexually transmitted diseases that are rampant.

If your mother is as understanding as I think she is, she won't stop you from seeing your boyfriend.

DEAR ABBY: I work in a confined place with a woman whom I love. I am divorced and was very lonely until I started working with her. She treats me better than any other woman I have ever met. We have a special, non-sexual relationship.

She seems to be happily married and I can never hope to be with her other than at work, where we spend many hours together with little to do except talk to each other, entertain each other and -- well -- flirt. I know she enjoys my attentions, but I also know that sooner or later she'll tire of this and crash me hard.

I have been divorced for three years, and I doubt that any other woman would be willing to take on a divorced man who has weekend visitation with his daughters. I am attractive and intelligent, but very lonely, and my co-worker fills a big void. Without her friendship, I'd have little sunshine in my life.

How can I control my feelings and not be in love with another man's wife? How can I keep my job, interact with a beautiful co-worker and keep my heart in check without hurting her or getting hurt? Please answer soon. I can't afford counseling. -- IN LOVE WITH A PRINCESS

P.S. If any women respond to my letter, please give them my telephone number.

DEAR IN LOVE: Love? Face it, you are lonely. Your self-esteem is below ground level, and you are ATTRACTED to her. That's not love -- that's distraction from your misery.

If any women respond to your letter, I will tell them what I'm telling you: Mine is an ADVICE column, not the "Personals" page. The way to find a worthwhile, constructive individual is to go where worthwhile, constructive people go.

DEAR ABBY: On our daughter's 40th birthday, a simple bouquet was delivered to my husband and me with a card that read, "Thank you for having me, for caring for me, and for sharing all that I needed with me."

Abby, this has occurred every year since her seventh birthday when she presented us with a straggly bunch of wildflowers. The idea was her own.

There is nothing more precious than her yearly thank-you. I would love for those reading this to do the same, whatever their age. It's never too late to give this gift of appreciation that makes parents' hearts sing. Gratitude is ageless. -- MARY L., ROCHESTER, N.Y.

DEAR MARY: And thank YOU for reminding all who read this that expressing one's appreciation is in itself a priceless gift.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600