Dear Abby:

I am nearly in my thirties and have this little problem. I tend to fall in love really easily. I sometimes can't tell if it's love, lust, or just a strong connection.

I have lost some very good friends because I became insecure and jealous when they showed an interest in other people. They weren't leading me on, they weren't giving me mixed signals -- I just fell for these people.

Last week I was so depressed I didn't eat for four days because of an incident like this. I got jealous because the object of my affections was on a date.

Rationally, I know I need to be there as a friend because most great relationships are built on friendships first. How can I tame my heart and not fall so easily?

The Fallen in D.C.

It isn't your heart that needs taming -- it is your insecurity! When people encounter needy, clingy, jealous people, their instinct is to run, not walk, in the opposite direction. Counseling could help you. You must get a grip and learn to like yourself more. Once you do, you'll feel less threatened if someone you like wants to take his (or her) time before making a commitment.

Dear Abby:

I noticed that my 16-year-old daughter wasn't her usual self. So I questioned her one night and asked if there was anything bothering her, or if she was worried about something. She started crying and told me she is gay. I responded by crying with her and asking her if she was sure. She said she was. I told her she is still my daughter and I love her very much, but that I can't help hoping she's just confused and that as time goes on, she might see that this is not who she really is. I'm trying my best to accept it, but it is difficult at times.

Please help me understand if my feelings are

normal.

Confused Parent in Texas

Your feelings are normal. Most parents have plans and dreams for their children, and your child has turned out differently than you expected. I admire your daughter for her courage and honesty in telling you about her orientation, and I admire you for making it safe for her to do so.

Your next step is to contact PFLAG. I have mentioned this organization many times before in my column. It offers support groups, educational outreach and more to families and friends of gay, lesbian, intersexual and transgendered family members. The Web site is www.pflag.org and the telephone number is 202-467-8180. Please don't wait to contact them. They will welcome you with open arms.

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, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate