Dear Abby:

I have been seeing "Gil" for a little over seven months.

I love him, but he drinks a lot. A couple of nights ago he called me, roaring drunk. I told him he needed to stop drinking.

He swore on the love he had for me that he would quit, and asked me how long I wanted him to stop for. I asked him to stop for one month. I told him that if he drank during the 30 days, I'd break up with him.

Now Gil says that the promise he made doesn't count because he was drunk when he made it. He says he would never have made such a promise if he'd been sober.

He told me he could quit for a month if he wanted to, but he doesn't want to stop.

I don't think this is fair to me because he swore on the love he has for me.

Should I keep my word and end the relationship if he drinks? He's only 17, and I don't want him to ruin his future.

Sad in Texas

He may be only 17, but your boyfriend is already a problem drinker. He may care for you, but it appears he loves his alcohol more. Much as you might wish to, you can't save another person; you can only save yourself.

If you're as intelligent as I think you are, you'll keep your word and end the romance so you won't ruin YOUR future.

Dear Abby:

My niece and nephew were living with their father, "Ron," and their stepmom, "Anita."

Ron walked out on Anita, and she turned and told the children -- ages 11 and 12 -- that it was their fault that their daddy left.

They have since moved back with their mother, but they continue to cry and worry because of what Stepmommy Dearest said. (She had also hit my niece with her fist and lied about it when confronted.)

How can I help the children to adjust and understand? They are precious young people who badly need stability in their lives.

Doting Aunt in Alabama

What your niece and nephew need in their lives, even more than words, is continuity. Assure them that you will be there for them as long as they need you. Praise them for their good qualities. Explain that regardless of what may be said in the heat of anger, adults rarely end their marriages because of anything a child may have done. Have their father repeat what you have said. From your description of the stepmother, everyone will be better off with her out of the picture.

Dear Abby:

My fiancee and I recently traveled out of town to visit my best friend, "Frank," who recently married his sweetheart, "Gail." Frank graciously invited my fiancee and me to stay at their apartment. This had been our arrangement prior to his marriage, and I accepted the offer.

Each morning, my fiancee and I got up early and took our morning showers before our hosts. As we finished our showers, Gail would run into the bathroom and scrub it from ceiling to floor. We are not dirty people. We didn't make a mess in their bathroom. We were a little offended, but said nothing. Was this her way of telling us she didn't want us staying there? Should we stay at a hotel next time we visit?

Former Houseguest, North Olmstead, Ohio

I'd say she conveyed that message pretty clearly. Considering the fact that they are newlyweds, I think you'd all be more comfortable were you to book a room at a nearby hotel or motel.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate