Dear Abby: My boyfriend (I'll call him Harry) and I broke up recently, so now I'm a single mother of a 3-year-old daughter. Harry gives me no money for our little girl and refuses to help me pay off the bills we accumulated together on my credit cards.

He immediately moved in with the girl he cheated on me with during our relationship. He was unfaithful from the beginning, abusive at times, and was never able to hold a job.So, why do I feel like I still need him? Harry gave me herpes. That's why. Deep down I feel like no one else will ever want me.

I just don't know what to do anymore. Although Harry moved out months ago, and even though I hate him for what he did to me, I'm still making excuses for him. Please help me. I'm ...

- Lost in North Carolina

Dear Lost: Harry is not the answer to your problems; he's the reason you're in this fix. It's time to rebuild your self-esteem and stop making excuses for a man who wasn't much of a man in the first place.

Since Harry is a deadbeat and the credit cards were yours, face the fact that you'll get no help from him. Focus on your daughter and paying your bills.

As for no one else ever wanting you, that's not necessarily so. An estimated one in five people age 12 and older in this country (approximately 40 million to 50 million) have genital herpes, so you are far from alone.

For a packet of information on herpes, write the Herpes Resource Center, American Social Health Association, Dept. PR85, P.O. 13827, Research Triangle Park, N.C. 27709, enclosing $1 to cover postage and handling. ASHA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping sexually transmitted diseases.

Please write again in six months and let me know how you are. I care.

Dear Abby: Here's a funny piece a friend gave me. I hope you like it.

- Richard J. Kovar Jr., Berea, Ohio

Dear Richard: It is very funny, and I have printed it several times. I liked it so much I included it in my booklet titled "Keepers." A number of readers request it each year, so here it is again - enjoy!

Old Folks Are Worth

a Fortune

Old folks are worth a fortune: With silver in their hair, gold in their teeth, stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet and gas in their stomachs.

I have become a lot more social with the passing of the years; some might even call me a frivolous old gal. I'm seeing five gentlemen every day.

As soon as I wake, Will Power helps me get out of bed. Then I go see John. Then Charley Horse comes along, and when he is here, he takes a lot of my time and attention. When he leaves, Arthur Ritis shows up and stays the rest of the day. (He doesn't like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint.) After such a busy day, I'm really tired and glad to go to bed - with Ben Gay. What a life!

P.S. The preacher came to call the other day. He said that at my age, I should be thinking about the hereafter. I told him I do - all the time. No matter where I am - in the parlor, upstairs in the kitchen or down in the basement - I ask myself, "Now, what am I here after?"

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable - and most frequently requested - poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

1997 Universal Press Syndicate

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On Line

All of the Dear Abby columns for the past several years are available online. Search for "DEAR ABBY" in the Lifestyle section and the Deseret News archives.