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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Objects to Giving Cell Phone Number to Her Boss

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 16-year-old girl whose parents have been married for almost 19 years. Mom started school two years ago to become a nurse.

She has always been an independent woman, but since she went back to school and is making her own money, she feels the need to be more free. Mom works eight to 12 hours a day. She leaves early and comes home late. She never stays for dinner when she's home, nor does she do anything with us as a family anymore. She used to work in the same study as my dad, but she moved upstairs. She also won't sleep in the same bed as Dad.

Mom is seeing a marriage counselor, and she wants a divorce and to move away. She says nothing is broken in the marriage and there's nothing to fix -- but why does she want to leave? She promises she won't see less of us, but she will be more than a half-hour away. She works nonstop and is constantly going out with her friends. I miss her, and I want my old Mom back! Is there any way I can stop her from going? Am I selfish for wanting her to stay? -- SHAKEN IN VIRGINIA

DEAR SHAKEN: You are going through a rough period, and you have my sympathy. Your mother appears to be so preoccupied with herself that she has forgotten she's a mother. Under the circumstances, all of your feelings are normal. Of course you want your mother and your old life back, and those feelings aren't "selfish."

While you can't stop your mother from leaving, you can ask her if you can join her during a couple of her therapy sessions so you can air your feelings in a safe environment and get some of the answers you're looking for. There are very real changes going on in your life and your parents'. You deserve some answers, and you are old enough to hear them.