DEAR ABBY: I am a 19-year-old girl who has been with my boyfriend for two years. He recently broke up with me, and I'm devastated. He told me he did it because I deserve better, and he believes there's someone else out there who will make me happier. Those were his exact words.
Abby, he was everything to me -- my best friend, my lover. From the bottom of my heart, I know he was meant for me. He's the only man I can picture myself with.
I am really depressed. He doesn't even call anymore. How do I move on when I don't want to be without him? Please give me some advice. -- ALONE AND IN LOVE
DEAR ALONE: When a man (or woman) ends a relationship with the excuse that someone "deserves better," be grateful for the candor. He or she is probably right.
It's time to move on. Stop playing "your" song, put mementos out of sight and refuse to be a victim. Take a class, join a gym, spend time with your friends. Do not allow yourself the time to brood. Trust me, it works!
DEAR ABBY: My sister has three children, ages 7, 5 and 6 months. Her husband works nights and doesn't return home until morning.
In order to get some exercise, my sister walks in the morning. She leaves her kids alone in the house, and takes a baby monitor with her. She insists that she stays within sight of her house.
I don't want to tell my sister how to parent, but I feel this is a safety issue. She won't listen to her younger sister, but says she'll listen to you. Please, Abby, give her your opinion. -- CONCERNED SISTER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SISTER: I don't blame you for being concerned. Leaving children 7, 5 and 6 months old alone is negligence. If an emergency were to occur while she was away from the house, none of the children would be capable of dealing with it. The possibilities -- poisoning, choking, a fall -- are frightening.
Your sister needs to establish a weekly routine whereby someone can be there to tend her children while she de-stresses.
DEAR ABBY: I strongly disagree with your advice to "Lonely Husband in Oklahoma." You advised him to get a puppy for his stepdaughter so she would sleep in her own bed instead of her mother's bed.
Abby, a puppy is a lifelong commitment that should never be entered into as a solution for a family problem. Please don't recommend that a puppy be used as a kind of animated teddy bear. A puppy is a live animal that requires attention and care, and the girl is too young to take responsibility for that animal's emotional and physical welfare for the entire life of the dog.
When a child sleeps with a parent to the detriment of the parent's marriage, it is a red flag that the family dynamics are askew. Sometimes parents who are divorced or in a bad relationship use their children as a surrogate mate. Other times, children in a one-parent home feel powerful and secure sleeping with the parent and are loathe to surrender the power to a new husband they may perceive as an intruder. I recommend "Lonely Husband" and his wife get into a program of marriage counseling, and perhaps family counseling that includes the stepdaughter. -- SIDNEY LONG, NEWPORT, R.I.
DEAR SIDNEY: You are absolutely right. Mea culpa. (You're the cat's meow!)
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
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-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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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