DEAR ABBY: My problem concerns my roommate. We are both third-year college students who transferred to a university together last summer. Because we moved here together, there was no urgency to go out and make new friends. However, I have begun joining clubs and getting involved with church on my own.
My roommate doesn't say anything when I go out with my new friends, but she's obviously miffed when I return. If I try to get her involved, she clings to me and makes fun of the other people in the group. She doesn't enjoy doing many of the things I do, and acts sullen and bored when I include her but gets upset if I don't.
Our lease will expire in August, and we recently received a letter asking whether or not we would be renewing. Both of us agreed that we wouldn't live here next year because it's too expensive, so she keeps asking when I want to go apartment hunting. Abby, I have already been looking secretly, and I don't know how to tell her I prefer not to live with her anymore. I still consider her a friend, and I don't want to hurt her.
What should I do? Another friend tells me that "the devil I know is better than the one I don't know," and that I should just live with my current roommate again next year. -- IN A BIND IN BOSTON
DEAR IN A BIND: Part of the learning experience in going away to school is meeting new people and adjusting to new situations. Since you are no longer comfortable living with your present roommate, she must be told ASAP that you intend to make other arrangements. That will give her plenty of time to find comfortable living quarters for herself.
Be prepared to stand firm, because if she's as dependent as you have described, she'll try to argue and maneuver you into changing your mind. Firmly stress that you still want to be her friend, but that it's important that you both grow and spread your wings during your senior year of college.
DEAR ABBY: May I remind people that there are single fathers who care for their children? Most people seem to think that only mothers have custody of young children. Believe me, a number of single fathers are raising their children.
A few years ago, I took my 20-month-old daughter into the men's room to change her diaper. On the way in, I saw a woman look at me in shock and horror that I was taking a baby girl into the men's room.
Another customer had a different reaction. She said, "Isn't that sweet! Her father is taking care of her." I wanted to shout: "No, it's not sweet. She is my daughter and I love her. I am not trying to be 'sweet.' I am trying to take care of her and raise her with morals, feelings for others, and the ability to stand on her own two feet someday and contribute to society."
Abby, the bottom line is people should be aware that there are able single fathers as well as single mothers. -- DOUGLAS L. GAYNOR IN VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.
DEAR DOUGLAS: In case anyone has forgotten -- I'm printing your reminder. I salute you.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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