DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Vernon" for six months. We were great together from the day we met. It was like we'd known each other forever and could talk for hours. We talked every night and it was amazing.
Two weeks ago, I was raped by a man I thought was a friend. When I told Vernon, he was shocked and didn't know how to handle it. I was hoping we could get past it, but two nights ago he said he can no longer be intimate with me because he feels like he is doing something wrong, or I won't like it. He said he loves talking to me and still wants to be friends.
We have continued talking every night, but it is hard for me to do as just his friend. Do you think he will be able to get over these feelings and be with me again? Should I remain friends when I have feelings for him? -- WANTS MORE IN MINNESOTA
DEAR WANTS MORE: If you haven't already reported the rape to the police, do it now. The man who did this to you needs to be taken out of circulation so he won't harm another woman.
You should be receiving counseling to help you get over what was done to you, and frankly, so should Vernon. Unless he can stop treating you as though you are "untouchable," you should not continue the "friendship," because what he is doing is distancing himself when you need his support the most.
DEAR ABBY: About a year ago I became engaged to a very special man. We have decided to be married during a weeklong cruise we have taken the past two years. We knew some family members might not be able to attend for financial reasons, so we chose to invite only two close friends as witnesses and not have our families there.
My family is OK with our decision, but his family is not pleased. They have been calling him constantly and telling him to change our plans and accommodate them, and frankly, we are sick of it. We know why they're upset, but at the same time this is our day and they should respect our decision.
How can we get them to be more understanding and less disrespectful about how we want our wedding? Please help, because we don't know what else to say to them. -- SOON TO BE NEWLYWEDS
DEAR SOON TO BE NEWLYWEDS: It appears your fiance's family considers weddings to be more about the joining of families and less about the wishes of the individuals involved. They expected to be included, and are hurt because they weren't.
A way to explain your decision would be to make it less about yourselves and more about the fact that you knew some family members could not afford to make this trip, so you plan to have a reception when you return and include everybody.
DEAR ABBY: Next month my husband and I are leaving our 18-year-old son home alone overnight for the first time. We have good neighbors who will keep an eye on things. Although we trust our son, I feel we should let his 16-year-old girlfriend's parents know he will have the house to himself for the night.
I have never met them and don't want to alarm them by calling out of the blue. Do you think I should call them? -- WHAT SHOULD I DO?
DEAR WHAT: Yes. Call, introduce yourself, and suggest that because your teenagers are involved that you meet in person "sometime soon." And while you're making conversation, casually mention that you will be leaving town and your son will be alone overnight for the first time. If you had a 16-year-old daughter, wouldn't you want to know?
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)