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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am an 18-year-old woman and have been with my fiance for 2 1/2 years. I love him and can't picture my life without him. However, over the last six months he has become emotionally abusive. He's never wrong, gets mad if I disagree with him about anything, and he yells at me over every little thing.

He used to treat me great, and now this. I miss how it used to be, and I cry almost every day. In the past I always told myself I would never put up with something like this, but I have been -- and it gets harder every day. I know it's not physical, but emotional abuse counts for something, right? Or am I overreacting? Please give me some advice. I need to know there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. -- SAD IN LAS VEGAS

DEAR SAD: You're not overreacting. What you are experiencing now is a preview of how the rest of your life will be if you stay with him. When a partner becomes controlling and emotionally abusive, in most cases it's only a matter of time until the physical abuse begins. If you're smart, you will put an end to this NOW. The "light at the end of the tunnel" is the sunshine you'll see once you exit this relationship and slam the door behind you.

DEAR ABBY: Would you please say something about the practice of choosing teams for group games by having team captains select individuals through the process of elimination?

As a child, I was always the person chosen last, and it happened again at a recent community function. I found it just as humiliating and hurtful as an adult.

We were asked to stand and then sit down as our names were called. I was the last person standing in a room of 60 people, and it felt like I had just been pronounced the least popular and desirable person in the room. -- THE OUTCAST IN ALLEN PARK, MICH.

DEAR "OUTCAST": I'm glad you wrote. When choosing teams for group games, most savvy educators separate students into "odds" and "evens" -- or divide them alphabetically -- rather than using the old "last man standing" method. That this would happen in a room full of adults shows extreme insensitivity, and I don't blame you for being upset.

DEAR ABBY: My mom recently married a man with four daughters whose upbringing was very different than mine. Most of the time the "culture clash" doesn't bother me, except when we get into trouble.

When I stay out after my curfew, I am grounded for two weeks. When they do it, they get a minor scolding. While I understand that we were raised with different standards, I resent it when my punishment is worse than theirs. How can I make this equal? -- ANGRY IN THE WEST

DEAR ANGRY: Yours is a problem that occurs in many families when they become blended -- and you are right; the situation is unfair. That's why I hope you will show this item to your parents. Family counseling can help them arrive at a fair solution and head off resentments before they explode.

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