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by Abigail Van Buren

Troubled Teen Wants Escape From Unhappy Life at Home

DEAR ABBY: I am a 22-year-old college student. My boyfriend, "Jay," and I have been together four years and plan to become engaged after school. The problem is, I have never told him my mom is a lesbian. She dresses like a man and wears her hair very short. I have always accepted her for who she is -- or at least I thought so.

I have told Jay lies about my mom and dad being together when, in fact, they are not. My dad is deceased, and Mom has a girlfriend. I will graduate soon and Jay will be there. So will Mom and her girlfriend.

I feel like I am losing my mind the closer that graduation comes. Jay is a wonderful person, but sometimes he can be judgmental. I have wanted to tell him the truth many times, but I'm afraid of what he will think of me or have second thoughts about our relationship. I can't seem to find the words to tell him even when I try. Please help. -- KEEPING A SECRET IN HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS

DEAR KEEPING A SECRET: Here are the words: "Jay, there is something I need to tell you -- something I haven't been completely honest about." Then tell him everything and do it before graduation, so he will have time to forgive you for not trusting him and being truthful about your background. He will probably be more upset about the deception than any impression your mother could make. If Jay loves you, the two of you will get past this. But if he's not up to it, then your relationship wasn't meant to be, and you'll have to accept it.