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by Abigail Van Buren

Designing Woman Will Not Have Time for Boyfriends

DEAR ABBY: I want to add to your advice to "Confused in New York," the 18-year-old girl who wants to be an architect and whose mother is pressuring her to find a boyfriend. Your advice was on target, but you forgot something.

As an architecture student in my fifth year, I can attest to the fact that "Confused" will not have time for a boyfriend once she starts college. Architecture school is extremely demanding. I rarely had time to sleep, eat and bathe, much less time for a boyfriend and a life outside of school.

She can use this legitimate excuse to keep her mother at bay while she sorts through her feelings about the opposite sex. Once she graduates, she'll have her pick of successful men if that's what she desires.

In the meantime, Mom should lay off the pressure and thank her lucky stars that her daughter is college-bound. -- CAROL IN JACKSON, MISS.

DEAR CAROL: Thank you for the firsthand testimonial. That letter caused me to receive a bushel of letters. Read on for a sample:

DEAR ABBY: That girl's mother needs counseling more than her daughter. What mother in her right mind wouldn't jump for joy over a child who could say: "I'm at the top of my class, play soccer and work in retail after school. One day I'd like to be a great architect. I am a good person, but I don't feel like I am ready to grow up just yet."

In this day and age, where 13-year-old girls are having babies, that mother should be relieved. As you advised, the young woman may need counseling to help her understand why she avoids men, but her mom definitely needs it so she won't push her daughter into relationships she's not ready for and for making her feel like a failure at 18. -- K. WATSON IN FLORIDA

DEAR K.: Well said.

DEAR ABBY: You missed what could be an important point for "Confused in New York." If she spends some time reflecting on who she is vs. who her mother expects her to be, she may find out she's gay.

"Confused" should concentrate on her goal of becoming an architect (preferably at a school far from her hometown) and see how she develops out of her mom's shadow. She can stay single as long as she wants and just explore what's out there.

Whether she's meant to date boys or girls, it will happen when she's ready. -- NO LONGER CONFUSED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR NO LONGER CONFUSED: I agree that the young woman should concentrate on her goals, but I advised her to seek counseling because it will help her to find out, in a safe and nurturing environment, who she is and what she wants.

DEAR ABBY: When I was 18 I, too, had no interest in having a boyfriend. When I was 21, I met the man who is now my husband. He was the first guy who didn't gross me out, and 16 years later, he is still my soul mate.

She should go out, have fun, and do things she loves. When she's ready, she'll meet someone. Other 18-year-olds could take a lesson from her. More power to her. -- HAPPY IN HAYMARKET, VA.

DEAR HAPPY: You're right that true love has no timetable. It usually happens when a person least expects it.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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