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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Mother of 10" was intriguing. She wrote that after being married 30 years, she told her son that whenever her husband walked into the room, she could still feel her heart lift. Her son said it was only infatuation. I would like to relate my experience.

In August 1970, I met the woman I later married. She walked into a room to join the group I was in, and when I saw her, my heart skipped a couple of beats. I never said, "This is the woman for me," but she had an effect on me. There she quietly sat with her ankles crossed and her hands in her lap -- a perfect lady.

It took me three months to build up the courage to ask her out. We became engaged at Christmas 1976 and were married 13 months later. It was the best thing I ever did.

When we go to bed at night and I feel her warm body next to mine, I get all excited. When we wake up in the morning and she snuggles up under my arm and rests her head on my chest, it is the greatest feeling in the world. Every once in a while, I can't let go, and we stay wrapped in each other's arms for as long as 45 minutes. She calls it "recharging our batteries."

Abby, if this is infatuation, I can't wait to see what real love is like. My heart won't be able to handle it. -- PETER KENNEDY, HACKENSACK, N.J.

DEAR PETER: It seems you found a soul mate when this lady walked into your life. One of the distinguishing characteristics of true love is that it grows, because it is unselfish and based on sharing. Infatuation is only the "sizzle." It snaps and sputters, but it doesn't last. You've got the real thing.

DEAR ABBY: I read your column every day, and now I need your advice. I am a 17-year-old senior girl in high school. Up until the middle of last year, I wanted to become a doctor. Then I was faced with a personal problem that I couldn't deal with on my own and couldn't take to my parents.

I finally went to one of my favorite teachers -- someone I felt I could confide in. She helped me work through my problem, assured me that everything would be fine, and told me if I ever needed anything, to come see her. She was genuinely concerned about me.

After that experience, I began to feel that I would be happier becoming a teacher rather than going into medicine. My mother has not taken the news well. She thinks I should focus on becoming a doctor because the pay is better.

I am torn between following my heart vs. making my mom happy. What should I do, Abby? Sign me ... CONFUSED WITH A CAPITAL "C"

DEAR CONFUSED: Both medicine and teaching are "helping professions." I urge you to make no hard-and-fast decisions now. Go to college, keep your options open -- and then follow your heart.

DEAR ABBY: I have a pet peeve. It's folks who leave long, slow voice mail messages -- then reel off their telephone numbers at top speed.

Callers should state their name and phone number FIRST, so the entire message doesn't have to be replayed over and over. Callers should also remember that although their phone number is second nature to them, it may be new to me. Speak those seven digits a little slower, PLEASE! -- RUTH IN VERONA, WIS.

DEAR RUTH: Your pet peeve also happens to be one of mine, and I would like to offer a further suggestion: Callers should be sure to give their area code first when slowly reciting their phone number.

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-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600