DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of nine months, "Brent," was killed in a car accident. I have been a mess ever since. I dropped out of school and have no job. I do not live with my parents, and I no longer have the love of my life.
One of Brent's best friends, "Doug," and I recently spent two intimate nights together. It was special and felt right.
Doug has had a girlfriend for almost two years. They are expecting a baby any day now. He has told me he wants to break up with her and move away with me because he feels he should look after me.
Another of Brent's good friends, "Brian," is a player. Brian doesn't respect women, but since he and I became close after the accident, he respects and watches out for me, too. One thing led to another with Brian, too, and we have done the deed many times.
I have feelings for both Doug and Brian, even though they don't come close to what I felt for Brent. Am I a horrible person for sleeping with Brent's two best friends after his death? I need advice on how to get out of this mess. -- GRIEVING WITH SEX
DEAR GRIEVING: Do not mistake what has happened with Brent's friends for love. It's time you talk to your spiritual adviser, join a grief support group and seek individual counseling. If possible, return to your parents for a while until you get your life back in order. It is important that you complete your education so you can become financially as well as emotionally independent.
P.S. Neither one of the young men you mentioned appears to be solid and mature enough for a serious relationship, so I urge you not to depend on either of them for anything. Both have taken advantage of your vulnerability.
DEAR ABBY: I turned 18 last year. When I started college, I moved in with my grandma on my father's side. My parents were furious. They said I moved out because "Gram" doesn't give me rules or chores.
I moved in with Gram because she doesn't see, hear, drive or even move well anymore. I drive her wherever she needs to go. My parents refuse to believe that I moved out to help Gram. It has reached the point that my parents no longer speak to her -- and I no longer speak to my parents.
It was not my goal to make waves in the family. What can I do to fix the problems I've caused? And how can I get everyone on speaking terms again? Please help. -- BIG PROBLEM IN A LITTLE TOWN
DEAR BIG PROBLEM: You appear to be the daughter of very controlling parents. At 18, you are old enough to decide where you want to live, and the arrangement you have made appears to be mutually beneficial.
Being a companion to an elderly person in failing health is a heavy responsibility and certainly isn't chore-free. (Could it be that your parents miss your free labor at their house?) It is not your responsibility to "get everyone on speaking terms again." From my perspective, you not only deserve a pat on the back but also a thank-you for taking care of your grandmother.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600