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by Abigail Van Buren

Man's Annual Birthday Wish Is for No More Chocolate Cake

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 16-year-old guy who has hit a road bump in life. My parents divorced when I was 12 and are still fighting. I get involved in their fights because I feel I have to, but it stresses me out.

I live full-time with Mom because Dad and I fight too much. Mom and I are also at odds nonstop. She has had several different boyfriends since the divorce. Three of them have moved into our house.

Mom and I have different opinions about her present boyfriend, who she calls her "fiance." He's the biggest reason we fight. Mom has told me her kids come first and if I really don't like him she'll ask him to leave, but I don't want her to do it if she's truly happy with him.

What should I do? Mom deserves to be happy, but I don't think this man is best for her. Please help. -- COLORADO TEEN

DEAR TEEN: Something is wrong when a person's front door becomes a revolving door, and whether this "engagement" will last is debatable. Your mother appears to be desperate for a companion, and someone who has put her happiness above common sense or responsibility to her children. You should never have been placed in the position of feeling you "have" to be involved in your parents' dysfunctional relationship -- and the fact that you are stressed is understandable.

If there is counseling available through your school, I am urging you to talk to a teacher, counselor or the principal and ask for some. It is important for your future that you keep your grades up without the kinds of distractions you're experiencing. Believe me, you have my sympathy.