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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have been going out with my boyfriend, "Donny," for some time. We love each other and would do anything for each other. I am 17 and a senior in high school. Donny is turning 19 and is a college freshman back East.

Donny's father is encouraging him to see other girls while he's in college. I am jealous and scared that Donny might cheat on me, because most of the relationships around me have failed because the man cheated on the woman. I am worried that this will happen to me -- especially because during Donny's phone call last night, he mentioned that a girl had flirted with him yesterday.

Deep down, I feel it would be easier to split up for the time being. I am torn, because I love Donny and can't stand being without him, but I also don't want to end up getting hurt. What should I do? Should I trust Donny or split up with him? -- TORN IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR TORN: I have a better idea. The next time you and Donny talk, tell him what you have told me. Then offer him the option of both of you dating others and hear what he has to say. Long-distance romances can be difficult, but my mail tells me that some of them work out. So hold a good thought, let Donny be part of the decision-making, and don't let the green-eyed monster wreck your relationship.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 10 years. We have two beautiful daughters under the age of 7 whom we adore. We put them first, before anything. My husband and I come from divorced parents, and we don't want to put our kids through it.

Lately, we have been fighting and our sex life has stopped. I don't find myself even remotely attracted to him, and I wonder what I ever saw in him. I am on the verge of an affair or divorce. What shall I do? -- DISTANCING IN WASHINGTON

DEAR DISTANCING: Neither of the above. Every marriage has its ups and downs. For your children's sake, as well as your own, you owe it to yourselves to make the effort to figure out what has caused the two of you to drift apart. One effective way to do this is a program called National Marriage Encounter, which has helped many couples to fall in love all over again. Contact them by calling (800) 828-3351, or visiting the Web site at

DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old girl. My parents are divorced. Mom has remarried. My father went with the same woman for two years, then realized he didn't want to spend the rest of his life with her and broke it off.

Dad doesn't tell jokes like he used to, and rarely smiles anymore. I think he's depressed. Is there anything I can do? Or does he have to do it himself? -- UNHAPPY CAMPER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR UNHAPPY CAMPER: You are sweet to want to help your father, but he must go through this process on his own. Regardless of the reason for the breakup, he still devoted two years to that relationship -- and the fact that it didn't work out could be considered a loss. In time, he'll meet someone who will lift his spirits again.

P.S. He already has something to smile about. He has a wonderful daughter.

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.)

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