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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Who Flirts Online Brushes Aside His Girlfriend's Concerns

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 13-year-old girl, and I'm bisexual. Some of my closest friends know, but that's it. Mom doesn't know, and neither do my gramma or papa. I'm afraid if I tell them they'll be disappointed in their little girl. Also, I'm growing up without a father, so that may have something to do with it. I wonder if not having a male role model is why I'm driven to like girls.

It took me a while to figure out that I was bisexual. It was at the beginning of seventh grade, when people were talking about being bi. So I guess I need to find out who I am as a person.

When I told my friend I was bi and I liked her, she was shocked and surprised. I think she took it the wrong way and thought I was asking her out. That afternoon she came up to me and said, "I like you, but only as a friend. I hope this doesn't damage our friendship." For me it did, and I haven't gotten the courage to go talk to her about it again. I was only saying that to tell her how I feel, not to ask her out. -- INSECURE AND CONFUSED

DEAR INSECURE AND CONFUSED: You are right that you need to find out who you are as a person. You are very young and still discovering. People do not become gay or bisexual because of conversations they hear in the seventh grade or because their fathers are absent. Sexual orientation is simply a part of who we are.

You were clumsy about the way you "outed" yourself to your friend. Put aside your fears, talk to her again and explain that you weren't asking her out, and the feelings you were describing were not directed at her. If she's truly a friend, everything will be all right.