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Learning Disability Could Be Root of Dropout's Problems

DEAR ABBY: I'm 18 and a freshman in college. My 16-year-old brother is supposed to be a junior in high school, but he's still taking freshman classes. He has gone to school maybe twice this year. He just gave up and dropped out.

All he does is stay home, sleep and text all day. It makes me angry because I don't work right now, but I clean, cook, do laundry and take care of my younger siblings while he does absolutely nothing.

Mom has given up on him. She begs him to go to school and get an education, but he yells at her and tells her he doesn't care and he'll just become a hobo. I don't know what to say to him to get it through his head that he needs to finish high school. What would you do? -- BIG SISTER IN NEW YORK

DEAR BIG SISTER: If your brother is a junior and still taking freshman classes, he belongs back in school. He may be lazy, but he may also have learning disabilities. If he doesn't get the help he needs to earn a diploma, he'll be virtually unemployable by the time he's 18. Your mother should visit his school and talk to his teachers and the principal about this. As it stands, your brother may be considered "truant," which is against the law.

DEAR ABBY: I am 47 years old and date younger, usually very attractive women. I live in New York City, so they tend to be models. I haven't been married because I feel like I haven't met "the one." I have been with one or two women who could have been the one, only to find out my feelings weren't reciprocated. But more often I don't feel an emotional/intellectual connection, so I end the relationship.

While I might be able to resolve that issue by dating women in their late 30s and 40s, I'm more physically attracted to younger women. Because I don't look my age, I have yet to reach the point where I look "too old" for women in their 20s to be attracted.

Do I continue to follow my male instincts and date younger women, or should I date women closer to my age to whom I may not be as physically attracted, knowing there's still no guarantee I'll meet someone with whom I'll find a stronger connection? -- LIKES 'EM YOUNGER

DEAR LIKES: Forgive me for answering your question with a question, but what do you really want in a relationship? The problem with youth is that it doesn't last. As the years go by, we get older -- if we're lucky. That's why it's time to start listing your priorities, with the help of a licensed mental health professional, if necessary. (There are many well-qualified ones in your city.) I urge you to do it soon, before you start looking like your date's rich uncle. While marriage may not be for everyone, it's a known fact that married men live longer.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.


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