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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's Fiance Embraces Her but Not Her Family

DEAR ABBY: Three years ago, my boyfriend, "Pete," moved from New Hampshire to Missouri to be close to me. We have been living together for one year. Pete's family still reside in New Hampshire, so he rarely sees them.

Pete is very reluctant to visit my family here, because when he does, he says it makes him miss his own family. I think he is just making an excuse not to socialize with my family -- who love him.

We are supposed to be married next year. Help! -- MARY IN MISSOURI

DEAR MARY: I see a red flag. Your family appears to be warm and welcoming. Have you met Pete's family? Do you know what they are like, and what their relationship is with Pete? I'm concerned that your fiance is uncomfortable around your family. His absence must cast a pall over family get-togethers. This is a poor way to start a permanent relationship. I advise premarital counseling for the both of you -- and a long engagement.

DEAR ABBY: I am deeply disturbed by the recent horrific accident in Santa Monica, Calif., where an elderly man hit the gas pedal instead of the brake and killed many people in an outdoor farmers' market. I have witnessed several similar accidents.

Recently I saw a middle-aged woman drive into a car wash and hit the gas instead of the brake. Fortunately, the attendant was able to jump out of the way or he would have been crushed between two cars. Another gentleman (not elderly) rolled his new car because of the same problem.

I am only 42 and have also stepped on the wrong pedal a few times, but so far have been lucky and not caused any damage.

Abby, please print my letter so that car manufacturers will ask their designers to move the gas pedal farther away from the brakes. -- WANTING TO HELP IN WHEELING

DEAR WANTING TO HELP: I'm printing your letter because it is thought-provoking. Other readers have also written to me making the same point. It appears possible that the design does need to be improved. Perhaps your letter will start the process and another tragedy will be averted.

DEAR ABBY: I am a teenage girl with a problem. My best friend, "Jenny," is jealous of my other friends. When they're around, Jenny gets sulky and has a bad attitude. When it's only the two of us, and I happen to comment about another friend, she gets mad and says I spend all my time talking about them. Not true.

I don't know how to tell Jenny that she's still my best friend, but I need other people in my life, too. She is really tugging on our "friendship line," if you know what I mean. I've told my mom about it and she agrees with me, but we can't figure out what to do. Please help, Abby. -- FRUSTRATED FRIEND IN MONTANA

DEAR FRUSTRATED FRIEND: Your friend acts this way because she is insecure and somewhat jealous. She is afraid of being pushed out of your circle. What Jenny fails to realize is that the harder she clings and tries to isolate you, the more she's pushing you away. Tell her that you need more than just one friend -- and so does she. It's the truth.

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

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