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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: A year ago, I led a picture-perfect life. I was a junior at a prestigious university, an All-American wrestler, in a wonderful relationship with my fiancee, "Libby," the father of a handsome 19-month-old son, driving a luxury car and living in a three-bedroom home. All of that came to an end. I was living two lives. One part of me was an honor student, loving boyfriend and father. The other was a violent drug dealer.

Libby had no clue about what I was doing. She thought I was a club promoter and that was why I was out most nights. Abby, I wasn't promoting clubs. I was selling boatloads of Ecstasy.

Last summer, I told Libby I had to go to Los Angeles to promote a club event. Another lie. I went to L.A. to pick up more Ecstasy. I never made it home. I was arrested, tried, and sentenced to four years in prison. When I told Libby the truth, she left me. She and my son moved 2,000 miles away to live with her family.

For the past year, I have written Libby, but she doesn't answer my letters. I understand she and my mother talk and write to each other frequently. My mother is desperately trying to get us back together, but I don't think there is any hope for us. My mother says there is always hope.

When I get out, I'll need to get my act together and finish my last year of college. I can't bear the thought of not marrying Libby and settling down with her and my son. I am sorry for what I have done, but she is hurt and unable to forgive me. Can you think of anything I can do or say to get Libby and my son back in my life? -- STUCK BETWEEN A ROCK AND A VERY HARD PLACE

DEAR STUCK: Only this. After serving your sentence, finish your college education so you can eventually support your son. That way you can prove that you have learned your lesson and can be a strong role model. Only time will tell whether you and Libby have a future together. But hold a good thought.

DEAR ABBY: I am a single mom with a daughter who is a sophomore in high school. She has a male friend she likes "more than just a friend." However, he has a girlfriend and talks to my daughter only when his girlfriend isn't around. Also, he's a freshman in college.

I do not like this guy at all and have been so concerned about my daughter that I did some snooping in her room. What I found has me very upset! He wrote her a letter that sounds like it came straight out of an X-rated movie! I cannot begin to tell you how sick it made me.

I cannot confront my daughter unless I confess that I violated her privacy and read something I shouldn't have.

The only alternative is to say nothing and hope my daughter will see this person for who he really is. Please help because the situation is driving me crazy. -- WORRIED SICK ABOUT MY DAUGHTER

DEAR WORRIED SICK: Motherhood isn't a popularity contest. You and your daughter are overdue for a serious mother/daughter chat. Tell her that out of concern, you did some snooping and found the letter. Then be quiet and listen.

Your daughter needs to know that young men who respect girls do not send them X-rated letters. Since this fellow is officially going with someone else, for him to encourage your daughter under the circumstances shows a lack of character. Then inform your daughter that you want communication stopped with this male "friend." That's what mothers are for.

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