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DEAR ABBY: When I met "Joe" I fell head over heels - but when I met his 4-year-old son from a previous marriage, I fell twice as hard. Not only is "Billy" cute, he is also the sweetest little boy in the world.

We formed a very special relationship. When Joe was busy, I would take Billy places - to the beach or the movies. I even took him to see Santa. (No one else seemed to have the time.) Billy often told me he loved me, and I certainly loved him.It now appears that Joe and I are through. That in itself is breaking my heart, but losing Billy makes it hurt twice as much.

Abby, how do I get over this? It's really killing me. I realize now that I shouldn't have gotten so attached to the boy.

I'm only 19 and have never experienced anything like this before. Please tell me how I can get over this. - BROKENHEARTED TIMES TWO

DEAR BROKENHEARTED: Start by keeping busy with other activities until time has reduced the pain of this disappointment. Send Billy a note telling him that you will "always be his friend." But do not expect to continue the relationship with him.

You are a generous and loving young woman who has just learned one of life's most difficult lessons - that sometimes we must let go of people we love, and survive it. The experience is painful, but it will make us stronger. Trust me.

DEAR ABBY: Can you stand one more letter about short men? I am a model, 5 foot 10, very attractive, and I don't "need" a tall man to make me feel comfortable.

My favorite person in the whole world was Sammy Davis Jr. He was only 5 foot 3 and far from handsome, but he had talent, style and personality like no one else. I doubt that his height bothered him - he had too much else going for him.

People who think they are better than others because they're tall are usually very short on personality. I have a friend who is always bragging about how tall her son is - as though it were some kind of accomplishment. (The kid is a clod.)

Many female models with whom I work talk about their gentlemen friends. And the ones who get the "raves" are usually short men. - CHICAGO MODEL

DEAR MODEL: When one sees a short man with a tall woman, it's a pretty good bet that the man is confident and self-assured, and so is the woman. And that's what I call a well-matched couple.

DEAR ABBY: In reference to the woman whose daughter was going to wear her mother's wedding gown but was concerned about who would "own" the gown after the wedding:

A similar situation arose when I let my daughter-in-law wear my wedding gown. We both understood that the gown was a loan and would be returned to me after the wedding. However, I wanted her to have something she could keep as her own treasure, so I went shopping for a veil to match my gown. Fortunately, I found a perfect match. So she wore my gown and her own veil, and after the wedding she returned my gown and kept the veil. Now we both have wonderful, wonderful memories of how we shared that very special day. - LUCKY MOTHER-IN-LAW, EPSOM, N.H.

DEAR READERS: Have a safe, happy holiday. And to my twin sister, Happy Birthday, Eppie!

C) 1990 Universal Press Syndicate