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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old girl. About a month ago, I met a wonderful guy, "Adam," who treats me like a queen. He's 18. My parents like him and so do all my friends. Adam is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. He is a singer in a local band and all the girls are crazy for him. I am amazed that he wants to be with someone like me.

Lately, Adam has been talking about marriage and hinting that it's me he wants to marry. I told him I'd think about it -- but the more I do, the more confused I get. I really like him, but I'm not sure I want to be married right out of high school. I only have a few months until I turn 18 and graduate -- then I have to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. The thought is overwhelming. Can you help me? -- TURBULENT TEEN IN WYOMING

DEAR TURBULENT TEEN: Follow your instincts. You appear to be an intelligent young lady with a lot to offer. I see no reason to rush to the altar. Adam may be a terrific young man with a great future, but do not allow yourself to be talked into anything. Get more training and education. Marry no one until you are self-supporting.

DEAR ABBY: I am a healthy and attractive 68-year-old widow. For a month last summer, I dated a wonderful 65-year-old man. In that short time, I fell in love with him, but he went back to another woman he had dated before me.

My heart has been broken ever since. I have not been able to get this man off my mind. We attend a number of the same social functions in town, and each time I see him, it destroys me. There are very few single men my age, so finding a new companion is not an easy task.

I am a busy, productive lady, but I carry my thoughts everywhere I go. It feels like an obsession. Never in all my life have I felt like this. I cannot continue in this state of mind. Please help. -- ONE-TRACK MIND SOMEWHERE IN WISCONSIN

DEAR ONE-TRACK MIND: You have my sympathy. You may need professional counseling to get beyond this, and I hope you'll waste no time in getting it. It would also be helpful if you found (at least temporarily) other social activities where you can meet new people and not be haunted by the ghost of last summer's romance.

DEAR ABBY: I am a single mom with a 7-year-old son, "Jason." We're new to the neighborhood, but Jason has made friends with three boys from a family who lives across the street. The kids are great, and they all play well together.

However, the boys' mother is irresponsible and cannot be trusted. I know for a fact that she steals from stores and dabbles in illegal substances. I want my son to have friends, but I refuse to allow him to play at their home. Am I wrong? How should I explain this to the boys' mother if she asks why Jason isn't allowed to come over? -- MICHIGAN MOM

DEAR MICHIGAN MOM: You're not wrong. You're a mother who has her priorities straight. If the woman asks you why you want the children at your home, tell her with a smile that you feel more secure if you are supervising them. It's the truth -- but don't be surprised if it's a question she never asks.

More to the point is the question you did NOT ask. If the boys' mother is into drugs and thievery, you would be doing the boys a favor to notify Child Protective Services. You can ask that your name not be used.

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-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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