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DEAR ABBY: I am in high school and have always been able to get whatever guy I wanted. My reputation at school is sort of "loose and easy."
I haven't had sex in eight months because I met a sweet, amazing guy who I want to marry. He's a virgin, and I think he thinks I'm one, too. He doesn't go to my school, so he doesn't know about my old reputation.
Should I let him keep thinking I'm still innocent? I feel like a worthless used rag. When I'm with him, I am worth something - I'm the whole world to him. I want it to stay like that. But I know that by not telling him, I'm lying. He doesn't deserve that - and I feel I don't deserve him. Please help.
- New "me" in Arizona
DEAR NEW YOU: Before I answer your question, there are some things I would like you to understand. First, you ARE "worth something" whether you are with this boy or not. It is dangerous to judge yourself through the eyes of another person. It is far more important that you can look at yourself in a mirror and know you are a good person because you try every day to do what is moral and right. Practice that, and no one will ever again make you feel like a used rag.
You are still in high school, and that's early to be thinking about marriage. I'm advising you to tell this boy the truth because if you don't, there is a good chance that eventually he will hear it from someone else. If he drops you because of it, it will not be because you don't deserve him, but because he doesn't deserve you.
DEAR ABBY: I'm wondering if you can help me. I have been friendly with couples, and when an argument arises I have been caught in the middle. Sometimes I have felt forced to take sides. Then what happened was, they wound up mending fences and repeating to the other what I said during their split. It has put me in an awkward position when we're together. How should I handle this in the future?
- Torn in Dallas
DEAR TORN: In the future, when your friends have a spat with a spouse or significant other and start to dump on you, politely decline to listen. Say, "If you have a complaint about ( ), you should work it out with him/her because I'm not comfortable hearing this." Either that, or do a lot of listening and comment, "Oh, that must be painful." Period. That way you're saying nothing you won't later regret.
The exception would be if you were told about an abusive relationship, in which case you should recommend a domestic-violence hotline.