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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Your advice to "Alone and in Love," the 19-year-old girl who was devastated when her boyfriend broke up with her, was right on. You said that when someone says, "You deserve better," you should be grateful for their candor because they are probably right.

My sweetheart, "James," and I were together all through high school. After graduation he joined the Marines, and we kept up a long-distance relationship. One night while I was visiting where he was stationed, he told me he wasn't "good enough" for me, but we could still be "great friends." I was devastated. He was my first love. I couldn't picture myself with anyone else.

Then along came "Allen." He was sweet, funny and great company. I told myself that he would be "just a distraction." It turned out that when I was with Allen, I never gave a second thought to James. Allen and I have been together nearly 10 years, married four years, and have two beautiful children. Allen is my soulmate. I would not trade my life with him for anything in this world. I am thankful every day for what James did.

Please tell "Alone" to keep her chin up. It's easier to see true love that way. -- LOVE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER

DEAR LOVE IS: I hope your letter will reassure other readers that when one door closes, another one opens. There's an old saying -- the "hair of the dog" cures a hangover. In many cases, it also can mend a broken heart. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Alone and in Love" brought back memories.

When I was 20, I fell deeply in love. "Chip" told me we would marry as soon as his divorce was final. One week before it was final, he returned to his ex. It turned out Chip couldn't bear to part with his snowmobile, motorcycle and other toys. I, too, was devastated.

Six months later, he had the gall to ask one of my girlfriends to ask me to return his ring and the large studio photo he had given me of himself.

The next morning I made myself a scrambled egg and champagne breakfast, burned his picture in the fireplace, and pounded the ring flat with a hammer. I put the "remains" in an envelope and mailed them to him. It was probably not the nicest thing to do -- but it sure gave me closure. -- MOVED ON IN TEXAS

DEAR MOVED ON: I'm struck by the symbolism. Your relationship had turned to ashes when he left you flat. (Naughty girl!) I hope you had better luck next time.

DEAR ABBY: I am 15 and have my first "serious" boyfriend. I have been dating him for five months. I really love his family, but sometimes I get little hints that make me feel I am a bother to his parents.

I don't want them to get tired of me, because I really like them, and I don't want anything to affect our relationship.

Should I not call or visit as much, or just wait and see what happens? Thanks a million. -- CATHY IN CORAL GABLES, FLA.

DEAR CATHY: Since you suspect that you're calling and visiting too frequently, by all means you should cut back. It will give you an opportunity to participate in some interesting new solo activities you can share -- and it will give your boyfriend the opportunity to pursue you.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

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-size, 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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