DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old girl who is losing the will to live. I am bisexual, but my parents are very anti-gay/lesbian, so I can't tell them about my sexual orientation.
Every day I engage in self-injury using a metal chain, and I think about suicide a lot. Please help me.
— HURTING IN ORLANDO, FLA.
DEAR HURTING: As you already know, your sexual orientation isn't something you chose. It is something you were born with, and your parents' disapproval — as intimidating as it may be — isn't going to change it. What you are experiencing is not uncommon in young people who have discovered they are "different." But there is help, not only for you but also for your parents.
The first thing you should do is contact The Trevor Helpline. It is a nationwide, 24-hour helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people. A counselor there can help you sort out your feelings and figure out some options. You can find out more about it by going to www.thetrevorproject.org. The toll-free number is (866) 488-7386.
Another terrific resource is PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). PFLAG was established in the 1980s and offers specific advice on how to deal with your parents. You will find its Web site at www.pflag.org.
Both of these organizations provide the support you need, so please don't wait to contact them.
DEAR ABBY: My heart is broken. My 18-year-old son, "Joey," has just put his name on someone else's child's birth certificate. He met the girl in high school. She was already pregnant. Joey has been out of school since May. He has no job, no money and no car.
Joey promised her family he will "take care of her." They were only too happy to hear it because the real father wants nothing to do with her or the baby. Her parents have made my son feel like a hero, and he enjoys it.
I did everything in my power to talk him out of it. Nothing worked. I can't believe that the girl's family is encouraging him. Joey is not a man, even if he is 18. Where are their values?
— HEARTBROKEN MOM IN MESA, ARIZ.
DEAR MOM: Your son may feel like a hero, but apparently he was not thinking rationally when he put his name on that birth certificate, because what he did was fraud. The father of that baby should be listed as the father, and he is the one who should be financially responsible until the child reaches adulthood. If Joey wants to lend emotional support, more power to him. But I'm advising you to consult an attorney to see if this mess can be unraveled before he gets in any deeper.
DEAR ABBY: I am 22 years old and stuck in a long-term relationship. My boyfriend has taken care of me since my mother died last year. She was my only family, so without my boyfriend I'd be alone.
My problem is, I am no longer attracted to him. I don't want to hurt his feelings because of everything he has helped me through, but is a relationship worth staying in if you don't feel the "connection" anymore?
— ALONE IN THE SOUTH
DEAR ALONE: No, it's not, and it's also not fair to your boyfriend. Sooner or later you will have to level with him and tell him that, while you're deeply grateful for his support during this difficult time, you have come to regard him as more of a brother than a lover, and while you'll always care for him, the romance is over.
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.