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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My daughter recently told us she is attracted to women. I feel she has been unduly influenced by her mentor/professor at her college, as she quoted this woman several times when she "came out."

My daughter has always been quiet and shy. She finds it difficult to make eye contact with anyone. How am I to accept this, especially since I feel her mentor took advantage of the situation? I am finding it difficult to function at all. I love my daughter very much. This just hurts. -- MOM AT A LOSS IN OREGON

DEAR MOM AT A LOSS: I understand this has been a shock for you, and for that you have my sympathy. It is possible that your daughter has always been quiet and shy because she was wrestling with who she is, so the fact that she told you her feelings is a good thing.

Because you are hurting, it would be helpful for you to talk to other parents of lesbians and gays. They can help you through this period of adjustment. You can find support by contacting PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) by calling (202) 467-8180 or logging onto � HYPERLINK "" ���. If you do, you'll be better able to support your child.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married eight years and have two children. Our marriage has had its share of ups and downs, but we always manage to survive the bad times.

My problem is my husband sleeps on the couch 95 percent of the time instead of in our bed. He makes excuses such as he "fell asleep watching TV," or "the kids were sleeping in our bed" -- even when they weren't. He even goes to sleep on the couch after we have had sex.

I don't like sleeping by myself every night, and I have tried to explain how upsetting this is to me. My little girl has even asked why Daddy sleeps on the couch. Any suggestions? -- MISSING MY SNUGGLE, MELBOURNE, FLA.

DEAR MISSING YOUR SNUGGLE: Yes. Have you asked your husband why he's not in bed with you anymore? Your statement that he leaves for the couch after you have had sex could indicate that one or both of you may have a sleeping disorder that prevents him getting enough rest. But you'll never find out unless you can get him to level with you about what the problem is.

DEAR ABBY: My darling wife died not long ago. I'm still grieving. Please tell me what to do when women show up as if I'm available to date. They're not shy. I'm not interested in anyone, especially since my wife just passed away. I am still emotionally attached to her, and I don't want that feeling to fade.

Abby, these women are forward and aggressive. I can't believe how some of them dress. I miss my wife. I truly loved her and continue to do so. I know in time I'll meet someone, but I'm not ready to jump out there because my heart still belongs to my wife. I welcome your advice, Abby. -- HUNTSVILLE WIDOWER

DEAR WIDOWER: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved wife. Because you wrote to me in longhand rather than via the Internet, I'm assuming you are an older gentleman. Available men in your demographic are hard to find, which is probably why you're under siege by the casserole brigade. Actually, it's a compliment that they're lining up. However, because you're not ready to move in that direction, politely tell the women you prefer to be left alone right now to sort out your feelings. And, if anything changes, you will let them know.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)