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by Abigail Van Buren

Series of Losses Leaves Woman Unable to Cope

DEAR ABBY: I am 21 and having a really hard time right now. My dad left my mom and me about two weeks ago, and I had a miscarriage around the same time.

I told my boyfriend I wanted a break, and now I have feelings for another guy I met about a week ago. He makes me laugh, which I haven't done in weeks. I don't know if I want to get back together with my boyfriend. I do love him -- I just don't know if I want to be with him. Can you please help me? -- FEELING LOST

DEAR FEELING LOST: Sometimes when a person doesn't know what to do, it's time to do nothing. You have been through a lot lately -- in a sense, you have experienced three "losses." You do not need a love interest to make demands on you right now. Your mother will need emotional support until she recovers from the breakup of her marriage. You may also need support because of the miscarriage and your father leaving. Your best bet right now is to maintain friendships with everyone and make commitments to no one. You will recover your balance, but for the time being, take a respite from heavy emotions and drama.

DEAR ABBY: I am 27 and two months' pregnant with my first child. Unfortunately, I have reason to believe my husband, "Anthony," 41, is having an affair. Several times in the past month, I have walked into a room and found him whispering on the phone. Each time he has hung up quickly, and when I asked about it, he said it was "work-related."

When I found a pair of red thong underwear in the laundry that didn't belong to me, he claimed they belonged to his 70-year-old mother who had visited recently.

Anthony also forgot our anniversary.

I am concerned about my baby, and I don't want to be a single mother. Every time I mention my worries about our marriage, Anthony gets angry and threatens to leave. I love him, but is our marriage worth saving? -- FRUSTRATED IN FLORIDA

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Only you can answer that question. Offer your husband the option of marriage counseling in the hope that he'll be more forthcoming in the presence of a referee. If he refuses to go, then go without him, if only to learn why you would even consider tolerating more of his behavior.

DEAR ABBY: I am a girl in sixth grade. My parents are divorced. At school, I'm bully target No. 1 and my grades are dropping.

I don't know how to talk to my parents, and I have been begging them to let me leave school. Can you help me? -- DESPERATE IN DALLAS

DEAR DESPERATE: I'll try. Clip this letter, show it to your parents and tell them you wrote it:

DEAR PARENTS: Your daughter is in trouble at school. That is why she begs you not to make her go -- and that should have been your first clue. You are overdue for a serious chat with your child. After that, schedule an appointment with her school principal. Most schools have policies for dealing with bullies, but they can't be implemented if the incidents go unreported. If that doesn't put an end to the problem, go to the school board -- and possibly a lawyer. The situation will not improve unless you are prepared to act on your child's behalf, so don't put it off.

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