DEAR ABBY: I'm a 16-year-old girl. I am home-schooled with one friend. I'm lonely, sad, mad and depressed. I have always wanted to go to a real school, but it's not an option for me. My parents are against it.
I am always lonely. I don't know where to turn. I want to meet new people, but I don't know how, or if my parents will let me do new things. I have been cutting myself for more than a year and have lost all motivation to do my schoolwork. I feel lost. Please help me. -- SAD, MAD AND DEPRESSED IN BOZEMAN, MONT.
DEAR SAD, MAD AND DEPRESSED: Most parents who home-school make sure their children are exposed to activities within the community to ensure they engage with people of all ages. They participate in scouting, 4-H, sports, field trips, etc.
That you cut yourself to distract yourself from the pain of your isolation is serious. If you have a family doctor, please bring this up with him or her so you can receive the help you need to quit.
I'm sure your parents love you and want to protect you, but they appear to be doing it too diligently. At 16, you should be learning to interact with others your age. If you have a relative you trust or feel close to, I'm urging you to talk to that person about this. Perhaps your parents will accept the message from another adult.
DEAR ABBY: My husband brought home a puppy he couldn't resist. I wanted to make him happy, so I didn't object. We already have one dog. She's calm, mature and well-trained. She is also used to our schedule (we both work full-time).
We have now decided to try for a baby. The puppy is only 5 months old, and even though it may take months to become pregnant, I'm worried it will be too much stress to train and care for a puppy while I'm pregnant. When I try to discuss this with my husband, he says, "Everything will work out."
I want the best pregnancy possible, but I also don't want to upset my husband by finding a new family for the puppy. What should I do? -- ILLINOIS DOG LOVER
DEAR DOG LOVER: Talk to your husband again and stress to him the importance of seeing that the dog starts obedience classes. While it might be tempting to foist off the responsibility on your husband, you should both be involved so the dog will obey you both. With that accomplished, your pregnancy will be less stressful.
DEAR ABBY: I have been living with a man for 10 months. He is 70 and I am 59. Whenever we go to the grocery store, he winks and smiles at all the young, attractive women. Abby, I am fairly attractive for my age, and I don't appreciate his making me feel disrespected this way.
Other than this, he makes me happy. Most of the time, he denies he does it, except when I catch him red-handed. Is there any hope for this relationship? -- FEELING DOWN IN THE SOUTH
DEAR FEELING DOWN: Yes, if you can accept him exactly the way he is and not take what he's doing personally. He may smile and wink because he thinks he's being friendly. Or it may be a way of proving to himself that he's still attractive. As long as it's just a smile and a wink by the frozen vegetables, I'd say it's harmless.
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