DEAR ABBY: Last week, my best friend, "Lana," tried to kill herself. I'm not sure anyone else knows. Her brother beats her, and her mom yells at her for being "ungrateful" when she asks to spend a night elsewhere. My family has offered several times to let Lana live with us, as have her grandparents. After this week, I have begged her to. She still refuses.
Her plan is to move in with her boyfriend when she turns 18 in a few months. He's a good guy, but I don't think it will be good for her. I know they always say to tell an adult about a situation like this one, but Lana claims she's not strong enough to actually leave before then -- and she kept a secret of mine almost as big.
I'm scared and don't know what to do. I love Lana and I know doing the wrong thing could end up with her dead. -- TERRIFIED BFF IN TENNESSEE
DEAR TERRIFIED: If Lana tried to kill herself because of what's happening at home, she can no longer remain there. Talk to her again. Moving in with her boyfriend is not the answer. It could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. If she lives with him under these circumstances, she will be emotionally and financially dependent, and it's not a healthy way to start a relationship.
Point out that if she lives with her grandparents -- who understand how dysfunctional her home life has been -- or your family, she will be in a safe place while she considers her options about finding a job or getting more education. Once she's independent, she will be in a stronger position to make wise decisions about her future.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend lost the "love of his life" to cancer two years ago. He talks about her and their life together endlessly. He says he wants to build a new life with me, but he constantly criticizes me because "she would handle the situation better."
Abby, the woman was a physician from a wealthy family. I'm a blue-collar worker who single-parented two children. My parents passed away 20 years ago. Is there any hope for a future with him? Can I ever feel comfortable being who I am -- not the ghost he wants me to be? -- BLUE-COLLAR LOVER
DEAR LOVER: As long as your boyfriend continues to compare you unfavorably with his lost love, the answer is no. Have you told him how it makes you feel when he does it? If you haven't, speak up! And when you do, suggest he find a grief support group, where he can talk and talk until he works through his loss better than he has. Until he does, you'll never be happy. Competing with a ghost is a fight you can't win.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a college student who has never had a boyfriend. I have been on a few dates with a guy I'll call "Richard," and while he's nice, I don't see this going anywhere.
On the other hand, I don't want to break it off just yet because it's nice having that kind of attention for once. But is it leading him on?
He likes me a lot more than I like him, but he knows I'm going to transfer next semester. What should I do? -- CONFUSED DATER IN DES MOINES
DEAR CONFUSED DATER: You should be honest with Richard. Tell him you like him as a friend and remind him that your plan is to transfer next semester. That way, if he wants to continue seeing you, he'll know the score and you won't have led him on.
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.)