DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend, "Ned," for almost two years. I'm 19 and we have lived together since we started dating. I love Ned, but I feel like we moved too fast into our relationship and now he's trying to keep it moving as quickly as possible. I'm afraid he's going to propose soon.
He brings the subject up a lot, and I never have much to say because I'm afraid of hurting his feelings. What should I say if he pops the question? I'm not ready for that kind of commitment, but I don't want him to be angry with me if I say no. -- TORN IN OHIO
DEAR TORN: Honesty is the best policy. Not wanting to upset someone would be a very poor reason for getting married. If Ned pops the question, it is perfectly all right to tell him exactly what you have shared with me -- that you are not ready for that kind of commitment because you are only 19. It's the truth.
If Ned becomes angry, do not allow him to stampede you into saying yes. That kind of reaction could be a warning sign of someone who is a potential abuser.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 14 and haven't had a girlfriend yet, but I'm curious about something. When I do have one, will it mean I can't love other girls?
Lots of girls tell me I'm nice, friendly and helpful. I love them. When I have a girlfriend or get married, I won't be able to stop loving others. Is this wrong, Abby? -- CARLOS IN DONNA, TEXAS
DEAR CARLOS: There are varying degrees of love. There is nothing wrong with loving women, as long as you don't love them all at the same time. If you do, it may upset your girlfriend or wife.
When you are ready for a permanent relationship, the feelings you will have for the woman you're involved with will be stronger than those you are feeling now. However, if that doesn't happen, consider it an indication that you either aren't ready to settle down or you were meant to be a bachelor.
DEAR ABBY: I'm writing in response to "Hates the Crunching in New Mexico" (April 21), the wife who was annoyed about her husband's chewing ice during breakfast and dinner. There is a possibility that he many have pagophagia (craving and chewing ice), which is often associated with iron deficiency anemia. It could also indicate other nutritional problems that can be manifested by various "picas" (craving substances that have no nutritional value, such as dirt).
"Hates the Crunching" should encourage her husband to schedule an appointment with his physician ASAP for a simple blood test, which can show whether or not he has anemia. -- HOLLY PHELPS, BELLFLOWER, CALIF.
DEAR HOLLY: Thank you for your letter. Some readers felt the ice crunching was just a bad habit, but the majority echoed your concern that the crunching could be a sign of anemia. I hope your letter will encourage "Hates the Crunching's" husband to contact his doctor and ask to be evaluated.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter, who is graduating from college, received a gift card from her aunt. The gift card is for the shop that the aunt owns. I think this was tacky. Am I wrong? -- PROUD MAMA IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR PROUD MAMA: If your daughter likes the merchandise her aunt carries, I see nothing tacky about it. However, for you to criticize the gift is ungracious. And tacky.
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, CA 90069.
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