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Dear Abby: Mom’s painful past is warning to girls about teen drinking

Abigail Van Buren • Updated Aug 25, 2017 at 8:00 PM

DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of two teenaged girls (13 and 15) and have been debating whether to tell them a secret about my past. When I was in high school, I made some poor decisions. I went to a party with people I viewed as friends, had too much to drink and the evening ended with my being raped by someone I thought I knew. 

I reported it to my parents and the police, but because I couldn’t remember big parts of the evening, I wasn’t considered credible and no one believed me -- not even my parents. My grades dropped, my weight plummeted and the entire school knew and believed his side of the story.

I internalized everything and became a shell of who I was before the incident. It was years before I forgave myself for making a horrible mistake. Ultimately, I moved in with my grandmother several states away to finish high school, far away from my parents and the pain. 

Would it be appropriate to share this story (or a redacted version) with my daughters to help them understand the risks of teenage drinking? They are at the age when they are surrounded by temptation and curiosity, and their father and I can’t shield them from everything. Would I be doing them a disservice by not telling them? – UNDECIDED IN NEVADA

DEAR UNDECIDED: You would be doing your daughters a favor if, along with warning them about underage drinking, you shared your story with them. If you do, it will help them understand that drinking can have unintended, sometimes lifelong consequences. Forewarned is forearmed.

DEAR ABBY: Is it possible to have a relationship with a man 20 years younger? I rented my spare room to him, and over the past month, we have spent a lot of time together and grown very close. 

He has made it clear that he’s attracted to me, and I’m attracted to him as well. I am afraid of what people may think and say, and I worry about the long term. What are your thoughts? -- RELATIONSHIP ISSUE

DEAR ISSUE: I gather from your letter that you are 40-plus years old. If you are still worried about what people may think, refrain from doing what you’re considering, because people do tend to talk. Since no one can predict how long the “long term” might be, my advice is to guard your heart. Because there are no guarantees in life, proceed with caution.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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