DEAR ABBY: I am an 18-year-old high school senior who will be leaving for college soon. My boyfriend, also a senior, will be leaving, too. We have been going out for the past two years and trust each other completely. We attended different schools, so we are both fairly adapted to a "long-distance relationship."
The problem is I will be going to college in Florida while he will be staying in Michigan. Neither of us wants to break up, but we understand the enormous changes that will be taking place soon. I don't want to force any unnecessary stress upon him, and I know he feels the same. What are the chances of a long-distance relationship like this working out? Do you have any tips for maintaining it?
DEAR COLLEGE-BOUND: You are right that significant changes will take place after you and your boyfriend leave for college. You will both grow in different directions, which is a good thing and is to be expected. It will either enrich your relationship or end it. But if you have a strong friendship, are honest with each other and aren't afraid of letting each other enjoy some freedom, your chances are stronger of having a relationship that is long-lasting. It may seem counterintuitive, but it's true.
DEAR ABBY: In the past your column has been supportive of Overeaters Anonymous, a 12-step program for those suffering from compulsive eating. This year is the 50th birthday of OA. We want to remind people that they are not alone.
I have been a grateful recovery member of OA for eight years. Food is no longer my reason for living. I have been transformed by the program, both externally and internally. I want people to know there is help. Just as all heavy drinkers are not necessarily alcoholics, neither are all overeaters food addicts. But for those who are — and there are thousands — OA is the answer.
— JANET IN TUCSON
DEAR JANET: My warmest congratulations to you, your fellow OA members and to Overeaters Anonymous on its golden anniversary year. When my mother first mentioned Overeaters Anonymous in this column in 1973, I am told the organization was inundated with 40,000 letters from readers wanting to know more or to start chapters. Today OA has grown to more than 6,500 chapters located in more than 75 countries. There is no shaming, no weighing, and no dues or fees are charged at the meetings. Chapters are located in almost every city, but if there's a problem in finding one, log onto www.oa.org or send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to OA World Service Office, P.O. Box 44020, Rio Rancho, N.M. 87174-4020.
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.