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Friends Watch in Horror as Woman Fades Into Bad Relationship

DEAR ABBY: Our friend recently got engaged to someone who is, well, terrible! This is her first real relationship. They moved in together and got a dog within six months.

He's a lot older than she is, emotionally manipulative and abusive. Before they got together -- a couple of months after his previous fiancee broke their engagement -- she talked constantly about how desperate she was for a boyfriend. Long story short, she was looking for love, and he appeared.

We're not the only ones worried for her. We have spoken with several mutual friends. We all have the same concerns but are afraid to approach her about them. He has damaged her professional and personal relationships and essentially clipped her wings.

She was a bright, kind and ambitious person with wonderful dreams before she settled for him. She has lost herself in this relationship, and we don't know what to say to her, if we should say anything at all. Help! -- NERVOUS IN THE NORTHWEST

DEAR NERVOUS: While it may be tempting, resist the urge to drift away from her because of him. Rather than remain silent, you and the others should point out the impact her fiance has had on her professional relationships. If he is as you describe, she may eventually learn for herself why his previous fiancee didn't marry him. And when that happens, she may need all the support you all can give her.

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