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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have gotten myself into a "pickle" and I don't know how to get out of it.

I rent a house with two roommates (both males) and have always followed a strict rule of not dating roommates or co-workers. One night, I came home after having a few drinks with friends. One of my roommates was up and we started talking. Then he started kissing me. I wasn't thinking clearly, and didn't object when he trotted me off to my room.

I do like him, but only as a friend. There are no sparks for me as there are for him. I don't want this to happen again, but I don't want to hurt him either. In an ideal world, I'd like to remain friends and roommates, not lovers. Do you have any suggestions? -- CAN'T BELIEVE I BROKE MY RULE IN FLORIDA

DEAR CAN'T BELIEVE: Yes, I do. You need to quit drinking or institute another "rule" that you'll stop at two.

Inform your amorous roommate that in the cold sober light of day you regret what happened and don't want to repeat it. It won't "hurt" him; it will let him know where things stand, and it's important that he get that message. If you do remain roommates, maintain some distance -- and don't come home "pickled" again because you know what could happen if you do.

DEAR ABBY: I am a girl in high school and have a friend, "Joey," who is gay. Joey saw another guy, "Eric," who he thought was cute, and he made me go over and ask Eric's friend if Eric is gay. His friend told me he is straight.

Eric lives in my neighborhood and we became good friends. He has asked me out and I would say yes, except that Joey said he likes him. Joey has never spoken to Eric and only likes him in an "appreciating" sense. And of course, there's the fact that Eric isn't gay.

What should I do? Does the "girl code" apply to your gay friends, too? -- CONFLICTED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CONFLICTED: With the "girl code," girls agree not to date men another girl has her sights set on -- theoretically, because there is the possibility that he can be snagged if there's no interference. But in a case like this, where a gay person "appreciates" someone who is straight, the chance is remote to nonexistent. Out of consideration for Joey's feelings, talk with him about this. I'm sure he will appreciate your concern for his feelings -- and give you his OK.

DEAR ABBY: My cousin "Cecily" has been married for 30 years to a man the entire family thinks is wonderful. So did I, until I spotted him in a restaurant a few weeks ago kissing a woman half his age -- and who was certainly not Cecily.

I feel awful with this knowledge, but feel worse about ruining their marriage. Do I have a responsibility to share this information with Cecily because she is family? -- RELATED TO THE KISSIN' COUSIN IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR RELATED: How would you feel if Cecily spotted your husband of 30 years canoodling with a young woman in a restaurant? Would you want to be warned? If the answer is yes, then have a word with your cousin. It may not ruin their marriage; it might help to save it.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)