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.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married almost five years. Our wedding present from his sister and her husband -- who owns a video production company -- was supposed to be our wedding video.
Abby, we still have not received it or seen it. We have asked for it many times, and his answer is always, "I'm working on it." It's really sad. I now have two children, and this has become a sore subject. What can I do to get it without causing any more drama in the family? -- YEARNING TO SEE IT IN NEW ORLEANS
DEAR YEARNING: What can you do to get it? FORget it! Either the video was lost or something went wrong with the camera during your wedding, and your brother-in-law didn't have the courage to fess up. Shame on him.
DEAR ABBY: I am confused. What is the rule of etiquette for buying drinks these days? I feel as though I am required to buy drinks for women whenever I am out, but I can't afford to keep this up. I'm afraid if I don't offer, I will be regarded as cheap.
I'm not dating anyone, but I still feel like it is my "macho duty" whenever I'm out with female friends or meeting women. What is the acceptable social protocol? -- J.G. IN COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS
DEAR J.G.: Things have changed a lot over the last 20 years or so. Many women prefer to buy their own drinks these days. While it is sweet of you to offer, you are under no social obligation to do so. My advice to you is to be less quick on the draw.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)