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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I was recently in a relationship for eight months. It started when I was 22. My now ex-girlfriend (I'll call her Sue) was 18.

Abby, we fell in love quickly. I gave her my all. Her family loved me and mine loved her. She said I treated her better than she had ever been treated. (I was raised that way.) I respected her, loved her and never mistreated her. In the fifth month of our relationship, I proposed. She accepted.

Sue recently went on vacation with some girlfriends. The vacation had been planned before we met. I didn't object. I told her to go, and that I trusted her.

Well, she was gone for a week during which I never received even one phone call. When Sue returned, I was at the airport with open arms. Within 24 hours of her return, she announced that she wanted to call it quits. She said she wanted her freedom, that she was too young to have her life planned. She swore she hadn't cheated on me during her vacation. She told me she knows she'll never find anyone who will treat her as well as I have. I was heartbroken.

It's been a month, and Sue has gone "wild" since the vacation. A family member confided that Sue had confessed to cheating on me during the vacation.

Abby, women used to complain that guys have no morals, treated them wrong and cheated on them. Today, the roles are often reversed. Women claim they want a guy who will treat them right, open the car door, bring flowers, etc. Abby, that's me! I don't understand how Sue could have claimed to love me and then been unfaithful.

I have dated for the past eight years, and I've never been this much in love. I know the obvious response to this is that I'm young and have plenty of time; however, I must ask: Where are all the "nice girls"? -- ONE OF THE LAST NICE GUYS

DEAR NICE GUY: One day you will realize how fortunate you are that this happened BEFORE you married Sue. She may have been swept off her feet by your marriage proposal, but she's far too immature for marriage.

Count your blessings and keep looking. There are nice girls everywhere, waiting to be recognized by someone who has as much to offer as you.

DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend, "Terri," and I are both 19. We have been dating for 18 months.

Abby, I never get to see my friends anymore. Everytime I tell Terri I want to be with my friends, she throws a fit and we get into an argument. She thinks I should spend all my time with her. It's like she's jealous when I choose to be with my friends for a day.

Abby, I miss my friends. I'm not bored with Terri; I just need time with my friends. -- FEELS CONFINED IN PACIFICA, CALIF.

DEAR FEELS CONFINED: Terri may be more insecure than jealous. She needs to work on this, because one of the surest ways to sabotage a relationship is to make the other person feel confined.

Of course you need time with your friends, and Terri needs time with hers. You are not joined at the hip. Part of developing as individuals is maintaining separate interests. If you have put up with this for a year and a half, you must like Terri very much. However, I hope you'll consider what I have said, and insist on a degree of independence for both of you.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, 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. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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