DEAR ABBY: I am a 38-year-old woman. When I was in my mid-20s, my doctors told me I could never have children. At that time I was dating "Doug" and told him about my infertility. He said it didn't matter to him.
We became engaged and I started planning the wedding. After all of the plans were made, Doug changed his mind about wanting to marry me. He said that after thinking it over, being a father was very important to him. I was devastated.
I have now been dating a very nice man for two years. He has told me that the fact I can't have children does not affect his feelings for me, and that if we decide we want a family we can always adopt. He says that he'll never let me go. But how can I believe him, Abby? -- CAN'T TRUST IN CAMBRIDGE, MASS.
DEAR CAN'T TRUST: Doug was a cad. However, just because you got a bad egg once doesn't mean you should give up on finding a man you can trust. Not all men are alike. The one you're dating now sounds like a keeper to me.
DEAR ABBY: My sister and her husband and children have completely severed their relationship with our brother because of his new wife's gift-giving practices.
On my teen-age niece's last two birthdays, our brother's wife has given her a "gift" of used clothing still reeking of our sister-in-law's perfume. My sister and her daughter were very hurt by these tacky gifts.
Our brother and his wife shop for themselves in thrift shops. They don't have to shop there, but they choose to. However, neither my sister's family nor myself is comfortable doing so.
Abby, I'm usually the family peacekeeper, but I'm open to any suggestions. Should I say something, or should I keep my mouth shut and let them resolve this? -- IN THE MIDDLE IN TUCSON
DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: It's unfair for your sister to cut your brother out of her life without explaining why. Encourage her to explain politely, but truthfully, why they have stopped speaking -- but after that, you should stay out of it.
DEAR ABBY: Recently, in the middle of the night, a friend had chest pains. She called a neighbor and was taken to the hospital, where she was treated. Fortunately, all is well. However, her doctor told her that what she had done was wrong. He said, "You should never call a friend or neighbor; they are not equipped to help you in an emergency. Call 911!"
She told me this story, and two weeks later, I was at a friend's for New Year's. I ate too much salty food and suddenly was gasping for breath. I had just told them the story about 911 that evening. They did just that -- called 911 -- and within minutes a police officer arrived with oxygen, administering it while waiting for the ambulance. I'm convinced it saved my life. -- RUTH DAIGEN, WANTAGH, N.Y.
DEAR RUTH: I'm sharing your story with my readers because it illustrates what 911 is supposed to be used for -- a life-threating emergency. Thank you for an important letter.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600