DEAR ABBY: I'm a 20-year-old college student with a great job, life ambitions and parents who love me. They raised me to think for myself and follow my dreams.
I didn't date much in high school, but a few months ago I met a wonderful young man who is in the Army. Two things about this relationship are different: First, we met on the Internet, communicated online for several weeks, then took the next step to meet in person. The second is, "Jack" is 10 years older than I am and has a son from a previous marriage.
Jack is stationed not far from me. When I met him, I realized he was everything a woman could want. I did a background check and everything he told me is true. He supports me fully in pursuing my degree and my future career. But I'm afraid to introduce him to my parents because they're old-fashioned. They are leery about people meeting on the Internet. They also want me to meet a guy closer to my age.
The more Jack and I are together, the more I realize how much I love him. I want to introduce the man I love to my family. How do I proceed with this? I am scared that my parents won't accept Jack. How can I get them to accept my choice? -- DETERMINED IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR DETERMINED: Your relationship with Jack appears to be progressing at warp speed. If you want your parents to accept him, you must give them an opportunity to get to know him -- and the same applies to you because this romance is fresh.
As you communicate with your parents, start mentioning Jack. Tell them he is a member of the military and how you met. Meeting someone on the Internet these days is very common and nothing to be ashamed of.
The longer you continue keeping his existence a secret, the more concerned and disappointed your parents will be when you spring him on them. They will want to meet him and you should introduce him. After that, the selling job will be his. Keep your cool. You are your parents' little girl and always will be. But the decision of who you'll wind up with is your own to make, not theirs.
DEAR ABBY: Most people recognize chest pain as a symptom of heart attack, as well as pain or numbness in the arm or shortness of breath. But did you know that a feeling of "doom" or back pain could also be signs of a heart attack?
An article in our local paper reported that most people do not recognize other warning signs of a heart attack. They include: a sense of doom, back pain, sweating, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or lightheadedness, weakness, fatigue or malaise, and jaw or neck pain.
My mother, age 87, who had never had back trouble and hadn't strained her back muscles in any way, suddenly developed back pain that the usual over-the-counter pain pills couldn't stop. Two days later, the pain moved to her chest, and that's when we took her to the emergency room. We would have gotten her there two days sooner if anyone had told us that heart attack pain could begin in the back. Please, Abby, let your readers know these other symptoms. -- THANKFUL READER IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR THANKFUL: Forewarned is forearmed. I'm printing your helpful letter for all to see. Thank you for wanting to alert others to the sometimes subtle warning signs of a heart attack. Your warning may have saved some lives today.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)