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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a female member of the military, stationed for the past nine months in Iraq. I recently received a letter from a friend who is having problems in her marriage. She has asked to move in with me when I return to the states in about three months. She says it's only until she gets back on her feet.

There's no way I can let that happen. She has too much drama in her life, and I have grown accustomed to living by myself. When I get home, all I want is peace and quiet. How can I tell her that I don't want a roommate without hurting her feelings? -- PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

DEAR PEACE: Be direct, and don't go into detail. Tell her that your tour of duty has been stressful -- it's the truth -- and that when you return home you plan to live alone. Do not talk about the drama in her life. Talk about the drama that's been going on in your life. You have a right to peace of mind, and your friend should not expect you to straighten her life out for her. After a tour in Iraq, you've done enough.

DEAR ABBY: I was seeing someone in the apartment complex where I live. It was the maintenance man, "Stan." At first, we kept it quiet because of problems I have with my ex, "Mac." Mac and I have children together and he always finds ways to destroy my new dates -- so the less he knows, the better.

But I was falling in love with Stan, so one night we decided to go out in public. Mac found out and had a friend of his tell me Stan could lose his job.

Since I can't afford to move and didn't want Stan to lose his job, I started avoiding him. It's been six weeks, and I feel I have lost the best thing that ever happened to me. Please tell me what to do. -- GRIEVING IN MICHIGAN

DEAR GRIEVING: The first thing to do is pick up the phone and contact the office of the building. Without being specific, inquire if there is any formal policy regarding residents fraternizing with staff.

If there is a rule that forbids it, rather than avoiding Stan, I advise you to have a serious chat with him. If you both want to pursue a relationship and moving isn't an option, perhaps he should find a job with another building. Good maintenance men are hard to find.

DEAR ABBY: I met someone almost a year ago. "Donald" and I dated for several months, but it ended badly. A few months ago, we started communicating again -- and I thought everything was going well. Then, all of a sudden out of the blue, he stopped calling.

We were intimate each time I saw him. Now I am pregnant.

Abby, I'm 44 and have never had a child. Donald is 50 and has never been married or fathered a child either. I have left him several messages since I learned I was pregnant and have asked why he hasn't returned my calls. He has not contacted me.

I feel absolutely abandoned, hurt and betrayed. Donald is a wealthy playboy, and sometimes extremely selfish. I want this child, but need some sort of acknowledgement from him. What should I do? -- SHOCKED, DISTRAUGHT AND PREGNANT IN OHIO

DEAR PREGNANT: Pick up the phone and make one more call -- to an attorney. It will be a good investment. You may feel hurt, abandoned and betrayed, but I see child support in your future. It's time for the daddy-to-be to step up to the plate.

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