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by Abigail Van Buren

Third Time Is No Charm for Teen Unlucky in Love

DEAR ABBY: I am 18. I was involved with a guy for six years. I loved him deeply. I thought he loved me. One night he admitted he was only telling me he loved me because he thought that's what I wanted to hear. Our relationship ended.

I started dating another guy I had known for five years. Two months later, we slept together. Before I knew it, he left me and went back to his ex-wife. My third boyfriend cheated on me, and then lied about it.

Abby, my friends now want to hook me up with "Larry." He has had as much bad luck with relationships as I have. I am scared. I don't want to be hurt again. I have been hurt more in my life than loved. Larry seems like a nice guy, but I don't know what to do. Any ideas? -- THREE-TIME LOSER

DEAR THREE-TIME: Accept the fact that dating is risky business, and most dating relationships do not lead to marriage. Then take a break from dating for a while. Concentrate on school, or on your career if you have completed your education. You need to rebuild your self-esteem before getting involved in another romance. In the meantime, make a friend out of Larry.

DEAR ABBY: "Tired of Family Ties," the 33-year-old man who was adopted at the age of 3 weeks and never felt the need to search for his birth mother, asked how to discontinue contact without being cruel now that she has found him.

You advised that he has a right to his feelings, and he should explain to his birth mother that he's not ready to have a relationship with her now. I would like to second that advice.

Please urge "Tired" to have an honest discussion with his birth family. I am a birth mother. I have seen changes in my relationship with my daughter whom I lost to adoption. We were reunited 14 years ago. I wish she would verbalize it.

Thankfully, I have been involved in a wonderful support group for 17 years. It is called "Concerned United Birthparents," and it is for anyone who has been touched by adoption. -- DENVER BIRTH MOM

DEAR BIRTH MOM: Thank you for the information. Concerned United Birthparents can be contacted by calling toll-free: 1-800-822-2777 or by visiting the Web site at www.CUBirthparents.org. While many reunions are happy ones, some are not. In those cases, everyone involved needs all the support they can get.

DEAR ABBY: Last Saturday night I took my girlfriend out for a romantic dinner at an expensive restaurant. The people seated at the table behind us were extremely noisy and became even louder as the night wore on.

How should I have dealt with this situation? Asked them to quiet down? Asked the server to speak to them? Or requested another table?

Although it didn't ruin our night, it made conversation difficult. We rarely treat ourselves to such a special dinner out, and when we do we'd like to be able to hear each other's sentences!

Please let us know what to do should this happen again. Thanks, Abby. -- ANNOYED WITH THE NOISE, CARLE PLACE, N.Y.

DEAR ANNOYED: Because complaining to the offenders could have sparked a confrontation, you should have asked your server to move you to a table in a quieter location.

Next time, request a quiet corner when you make your reservation.

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

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S funds only) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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