DEAR ABBY: I'm 15. My mom recently split up with her second husband. He was very controlling and abusive. Afterward, she promised me she would not get into any more relationships with men for a while. I was glad because I really need her attention right now -- and so do my younger sisters. (Our stepfather never allowed her to be alone with us.)
Our problem is, one month later mom broke her promise and started seeing another man. My sisters and I don't like him because he is an alcoholic, with no job, and he's making our mother more depressed than she was. When he gets drunk, he flips out and threatens suicide. I don't think this is healthy for my mom, and it saddens me to see her in another messed-up relationship.
I have tried talking to her about this, but she gets mad and says I don't want her to be happy. I just want what is best for her. Am I being selfish or are my feelings right? Can you please talk to her? -- MARIE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR MARIE: Sometimes the young people who write to me have a clearer vision of what's going on than the adults in their lives. You appear to be one of them.
You didn't mention whether your father is part of your lives, or if you have any aunts, uncles or grandparents to whom you can confide.
Your mother appears to be desperate for a man in her life. She is not thinking clearly, which is why she's not getting your important message. She needs to hear it from another adult, so bring this problem to the attention of a trusted relative, teacher, school nurse, clergyperson or the parent of a friend. Please don't wait.
DEAR ABBY: "Adam," the boy I went to the prom with last spring, had a serious car accident just before summer vacation. He had multiple injuries and some brain damage. Miraculously, he has almost fully recovered. I visited Adam many times while he was in the hospital and in rehab. I wanted to "be there" for him and his family.
My problem is, now that he is better, he wants to pick up where we left off and continue our romantic relationship. But I don't feel the same about him. It has nothing to do with his accident; it's just that I met a great guy this summer and he is now my boyfriend.
The other day, Adam told me he can't stop thinking about me, and when he does it makes him feel good. How do I tell him that we are no longer a couple without making him dejected? He is already pessimistic and could get depressed. I would like him just to be a friend. -- CAN'T GO ON LEADING HIM ON
DEAR CAN'T GO ON: Tell Adam the truth before he hears it from someone else. Make it plain that you care about his welfare and want to remain friends -- as your behavior has demonstrated -- but that you are now romantically involved with someone else.
Do not allow anyone to make you feel guilty about it. You were there for Adam when he needed you most -- and you were only dating. Neither of you had made a lifetime commitment.
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