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Dear Abby 3/27

Teen questions her conduct after engaging in casual sex

DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old high school senior. Last summer I lost my virginity. Since then I have slept with six guys. Do you think my future husband will be seriously upset about it, even though he will probably have been out there more than I have?
    I guess I want to know whether you think I have become free-spirited or just promiscuous. -- POSSIBLY PROMISCUOUS IN MURFREESBORO, N.C.
    DEAR POSSIBLY: What I think is less important than what YOU think is appropriate behavior. And if you were comfortable with what you have been doing, you wouldn't have written me.
    If you continue on this path, you are in for trouble. The first thing that comes to mind is whether or not you know how to protect yourself from an unplanned pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease. If the answer is no, then you need to see a doctor or visit a Planned Parenthood clinic and learn about the real "facts of life." These include being checked for any STD you might have already been exposed to.
    In addition, you say that in the last seven or eight months you have slept with six different men. At the rate you're going, in another six months that number could double, and by the time you are 25, the total could be close to 100. That is not what people refer to as "free-spirited." It definitely is what they call promiscuous. So, please take a break from men for a while and think carefully about how casual sex could affect your future.

    DEAR ABBY: Three years ago, my husband told me he was no longer in love with me. We hadn't been getting along, and I hadn't been giving him the attention he deserved. When he said he didn't want to come home from work at night, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was the wake-up call I needed.
    We have worked things out and managed to stay together, and my husband says he loves me. But I found out that he told a friend at work that he was no longer in love with me before he told me! I'm on an antidepressant, which helps some, but I still feel sad about what he said. I also have a hard time when I see that friend of his. I want to run away and hide. How can I get over the hurt and shame? -- HEART ACHES IN CALIFORNIA
    DEAR HEART ACHES: It's possible that in addition to the antidepressant, you could use some counseling. You are viewing this life lesson from a negative perspective. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You and your husband worked out your problems, and you are both winners. So stop feeling like a loser, and call your doctor for a referral.
    DEAR ABBY: I have a dear friend who recently met a man through an online dating service. When she told me about him, I thought he sounded too good to be true.
    Through public records, I did a check on him. While I did not find anything criminal, his financial picture is not a good one. There are foreclosures, liens, bankruptcy, nonpayment of child support, etc. He is a professional man, and I think he is misrepresenting himself as being successful.
    I am very worried about my friend. I don't want to spoil things for her. She's an adult and could do her own checking. I know it's really none of my business, but I'm never going to be able to forgive myself if something happens to her because of him. What would you suggest I do? -- LINDA IN OHIO
    DEAR LINDA: You're right— this was none of your business. However, now that you know the truth, it's time to observe the Golden Rule and ask yourself how you would feel if the situation were reversed and you were in your friend's shoes. If the answer is you would prefer to know all the facts before becoming further involved, tell her what you have learned. What she chooses to do with that information is up to her.

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