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by Abigail Van Buren

Teenage Girl Second Guesses Engagement to Impatient Beau

DEAR ABBY: I am 16 but will be 17 in a few months. I have known my boyfriend, "Gabriel," for two years. He is my first boyfriend.

After four months of dating, Gabriel has asked me to marry him, and I said yes. He had been hinting about an engagement, and I didn't have the heart to say otherwise. Gabriel is very dear to me, but I keep hearing people say, "Keep your options open." I told Gabriel that I am young (he's 18), and I want to take it slowly, but he says if I break up with him to date other guys, he will never date me again.

Abby, I want to make sure Gabriel is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Sometimes I wish I hadn't started dating him because I feel too young to be engaged or married. I love Gabriel dearly. I don't want to break his heart or mine. I am also scared I might mess up this relationship. What should I do to make myself believe that I have found my true love? -- STUCK IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR STUCK: You should have been absolutely honest with Gabriel from the beginning. When you have found your own true love, you won't have to "make yourself" believe it. You will KNOW it.

Gabriel is pressuring you because he is afraid if you start dating others he won't measure up. For both your sakes, tell him that you are not ready to make the kind of commitment he is demanding. He may not like hearing it, but it is the truth. You won't break his heart, and once you have done it, you will feel a sense of relief.