DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend for 18 months. He has cheated on me more times than I can count. I love him and want to make things work, but lately he hasn't wanted to spend any time with me. We'll meet somewhere and he'll ask me for money. When I give it to him, he leaves right away, and I won't see him again until he needs more. I feel obligated to give him the money because we have a child together.
I am only 20 and have my whole life ahead of me. I don't know whether to throw in the towel or hope for the best and maybe things will change. I hate being alone. Deep down, I don't trust him and feel like he's using me. -- HURTING IN THE NORTHWEST
DEAR HURTING: That lack of trust is your survival instinct. Your young man is nobody's boyfriend. He is a serial cheater and a user.
I urge you to see a lawyer, and establish paternity, custody and financial support for your child.
There is nothing lonelier than being in love all by yourself. Consider this: If you end this relationship, you'll have the possibility of meeting a man who is worthy of your love. So get going -- and don't look back.
DEAR ABBY: Our granddaughter, "Beth," has been anorexic since she was 13. She is now 18 and doing much better. However, she's not completely over it.
Beth had to quit school in her junior year because of her eating disorder. Since then, she's put on weight and has made every effort to get back to the way she was before she developed anorexia.
Her granddad and I are proud of the fact that she just completed her G.E.D. (general equivalency diploma), and we'd like to host a graduation party for her, but don't know if it's the right thing to do. Is it? We would appreciate a speedy reply. -- CARING GRANDPARENTS
DEAR CARING GRANDPARENTS: I see no reason not to have a party to celebrate your granddaughter's G.E.D. Ask her if she would like you to invite some of her old school friends. It is a symbol of your love and encouragement, and I'm sure she will appreciate it.
DEAR ABBY: I want to share with you and your readers something I did for my parents a few years ago for Mother's Day and Father's Day. I made them both a "thank-you" book.
I purchased a small photo album for each of them, and on every page I pasted an index card. On each card I wrote down one special thing that my folks had done for me.
"Thank you for building our beloved cabin with your own hands on Sebago Lake."
"Thank you for making us homemade ice cream so often."
"Thank you for helping me understand how important family is."
Abby, both parents told me it was the best gift they had ever received. -- PATTY BUCK, FALMOUTH, MAINE
DEAR PATTY: I'm not surprised. A meaningful gift does not have to be expensive. The thought behind it is what makes it a priceless treasure.
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.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600