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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a 45-year-old, divorced Michigan man who has been communicating over the Internet with a 41-year-old Australian woman for more than two months. Kate (not her real name) stated in our first "meeting" (in an online chat room) that she was unhappy in her marriage. Even though she was married, I thought it would be interesting to talk to someone so far away.

We seemed to really click, exchanged photos, and even talked on the telephone a few times. Our online communication has always been pleasant and satisfying -- nothing sexual, just flirtatious.

We have reached the point where we feel we may have started something we might want to continue. Kate has told her family and friends that she wants to come to America to visit me for a month, and I have agreed to pay half her airfare.

Ordinarily I would not allow myself to get involved with a married woman, but I can't deny I have strong feelings for Kate and want to see her.

Does this sound like destiny or an online infatuation that has gone too far? Kate is getting a passport and may arrive within the month. Have we lost our common sense, or does this sound like two people taking a chance on happiness? -- D.K. IN MICHIGAN

DEAR D.K.: It sounds like asking for trouble to me. Aside from the fact that you are carrying on with a married woman, Kate may not be what you expect. I recently heard about a teen who was communicating online with a female he thought was about his age; when they met, he found out she was a 76-year-old granny!

Before you spring for the tickets, ask yourself if you could ever trust a woman who cheats on her husband.

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem and need your advice. I am a 23-year-old man who went out with an older woman two summers ago. We had a few fun flings, and next thing I know, she calls to tell me she's pregnant! After I told her I would pay for the abortion, she totally shocked me by telling me she planned to keep the baby and raise it herself. I then went back to college, and after the baby was born, she sued me for child support.

Now I have to pay child support for a child I did not want, to be raised by a woman I do not love. I am so angry, I can't see straight. My life has been turned upside down by this woman. Some of her friends told me that she deliberately tricked me.

Abby, if I hire a lawyer and can prove all this, will I be off the hook for child support? I hate to think I will be paying child support for 21 years! I am so full of rage at the opposite sex I doubt if I will ever trust a woman again.

Also, my parents are pushing me to have visitation rights, but I want nothing to do with this woman OR her baby. I need to know what my rights are. Please give me your advice before I go crazy. -- JOE (NOT MY REAL NAME)

DEAR "JOE": If ever a man needed legal advice, that man is you, so I advise you to lose no time in engaging a lawyer, and prepare to take responsibility for the child you fathered.

DEAR ABBY: Excuse me -- did I miss something here? What kind of a friend calls another collect, especially for free advice?

Did "Red in the Face" ever hear of reversing the charges to her home phone, or using a phone credit card? Even our college-age kids know better than to pull the "collect call" business on us unless it is a true emergency.

Regardless, "Red in the Face's" friend was just plain rude responding as she did to "Red's" note and cash reimbursement for the call. Some friend! -- JOHN IN OMAHA

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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