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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a woman who's been married for five years. I'll be 30 on my next birthday and I'm ready to start a family. During the past several months, the media -- and my own doctor -- have convinced me that if my husband and I want a family, we should start NOW.

My husband insists he's not ready and won't be for another five years. His reason is not financial; it is pure selfishness on his part. We both make good salaries, have very little debt and own a beautiful home. He says he's not ready to give up his time for a family. I have tried, with no success, to persuade him with all the arguments.

I am hurt to the core and very angry with him right now. I don't want to be 35 and "still waiting" for him to come around. Help! -- MOMMY-IN-WAITING IN DALLAS

DEAR MOMMY-IN-WAITING: Since your biological clock is ticking, you and your husband should waste no time in talking this out with a marriage counselor. He may have concerns about his ability to be a good parent or about his commitment to your marriage. Until you understand exactly what his problem is, it cannot be dealt with. Do not allow him to put this off. Your concerns are valid.

DEAR ABBY: I am an 18-year-old girl who's writing because I don't know what's up with the way I feel. I am at the top of my class, play soccer and work in retail after school. One day I'd like to be a great architect. I am a good person, but I don't feel like I'm ready to grow up just yet.

My mom says I HAVE to grow up and that I should start to look for a boyfriend because I am getting older.

Abby, I do not want a boyfriend. I feel uncomfortable around boys. They gross me out, especially when they try to talk to me or make a move on me. I want to puke. Is there something wrong with me?

I think some boys like Freddie Prinz Jr. are cute, but I want nothing more than to have a tiny crush. What do you think? Is it normal to feel that way? How do I tell my mom how I feel? -- CONFUSED IN NEW YORK

DEAR CONFUSED: There is no rush to find a boyfriend. It is possible that you are socially immature or a late bloomer. However, I am concerned because your aversion to boys seems extreme.

If you attend school in the fall, visit the student health center and ask to talk to a counselor. If not, ask your doctor for a referral. He or she can help you get to the root of your feelings. After that, you will know what to tell your mother.

DEAR ABBY: I have recently been reunited with my birth siblings. After a lifetime of wondering if they existed, it was exciting to discover four brothers and sisters. However, it has become overwhelming, because they call me every day and want to get together every weekend.

My siblings mean the world to me, but I had another life before we were reunited. How do I gently back away without causing any damage? Please advise me, Abby. -- A SISTER IN TENNESSEE

DEAR SISTER: Set limits and schedule visits weeks ahead of time to fit your schedule. Just because your siblings call does not mean that you always have to be available. Make sure your newfound relatives understand that you had prior commitments before the reunion occurred.

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