Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I've been dating this girl for a couple of months. When I first saw her, I liked her. When I got to know her, I fell for her. I wanted to spend every minute with her. We have so many things in common -- similar backgrounds, a love of books, authors and the theater. I like everything about her.

The only concern I have about this relationship is that I can't afford to pay for everything whenever we go out. Even though she only works less than part time and I work full time, I'll be broke soon with the way we're going. I don't want to ruin a potentially terrific relationship over money. What can I do? -- BROKE IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR BROKE: Level with your girlfriend about the high cost of living in the city. If she is a "woman of the '90s," she will understand that dating expenses should be shared. You are fortunate to live in San Francisco. It's a wonderful city that offers many low-cost things to do. Be creative in your search for economical entertainment, and I'm sure the two of you can find plenty of affordable activities.

DEAR ABBY: This letter is to the mother who was hurt because she received a card from her son that he had created on a computer. I send computer cards only to people I sincerely care about.

I sometimes spend several hours choosing just the right graphic, the right words (usually I compose my own), and a perfect type style. I am 57 years old, and not only does this give me experience on the computer, it allows me to spend time thinking about the person for whom I am making the card -- remembering the things I admire about that person and our fun times together.

Abby, anyone can go to a store and purchase a card for a couple of dollars in about five minutes with no problem. My advice to the son of "Hurt Momma" is to buy 10 cards at one time, sign and address them, then mail them at the appropriate times. This takes no thought, and in my opinion, Momma doesn't deserve any! -- CAROL DUNN, FORT COLLINS, COLO.

DEAR CAROL: I am delighted with the many original and creative computer cards that have arrived as a result of "Momma's" letter. One even had MY picture on the front! Read on for another reason that computer cards can be a lifesaver:

DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old who can't drive and whose parents work long hours and many weekends. No one is available to take me to a card store, but my computer is always here.

When friends or family members are having a birthday, I enjoy making a card for them. They love receiving them, too. I include little inside jokes or write a poem.

Just because it isn't a commercial card doesn't mean the card is not special. "Hurt Momma" should be grateful instead of hurt. The card came from her son's computer, but it also came from his heart. -- COMPUTER CARD LOVER, CAROL STREAM, ILL.

DEAR ABBY: In response to the column on pet peeve words, I submit my own creation, the following poem:

THOSE FOUR-LETTER WORDS

Some four-letter words offend me,

Whether by ear or in a book;

The ones that evoke the worst feelings in me

Are: iron, dust and cook!

-- PATRICIA YONKOSKE, BARNESBORO, PA.

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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