DEAR ABBY: I have been single for five years. I recently reconnected with a man I lost contact with 13 years ago. We went out a few times and it was wonderful.
Out of curiosity, I began checking him out online, starting with his mother, who he had mentioned was a surgeon. When I could find no information on her, I started looking up other things. Abby, I could find nothing about him or his family. His mother does not have a medical license, and there are no property records or any record of a marriage license to his second wife.
When I confronted him, he was furious and accused me of not trusting him. Now he doesn't want anything to do with me. I'm heartbroken. I loved him years ago and thought this was for real.
I feel guilty for not trusting him, even though I know he hasn't been honest with me. Is it wrong to do background checks on people you date? -- DATING A MAN WHO DOESN'T EXIST
DEAR DATING: It isn't wrong to do some checking. In fact, these days it's very common. But I wonder, having known this man years ago, what made you curious enough to double-check? Also, how good are you at research? And when you "confronted" him, were you hostile, which would have made him react defensively?
Please do not waste another minute feeling guilty about this. If he isn't the person he portrayed himself to be, you may have dodged a bullet.
DEAR ABBY: My 7-year-old son is a great winner when we play games, but he's a terrible loser. When he loses a game, he loses control. He screams, yells, hits and sometimes bites. Is there a way to stop this behavior or am I stuck with a son who hates to lose? -- LOSING THE BATTLE AT HOME
DEAR LOSING THE BATTLE: You have described a child who is unable to handle frustration or control his emotions. When a child is 2 or 3, this kind of behavior is understandable. But by age 7, your son should have learned to manage his frustration more appropriately.
If his poor sportsmanship continues, it will cause problems with his peers. You should discuss this with him while he is rational, BEFORE you play any games with him. Explain that games are supposed to be fun, and "when we lose, we are given the chance to learn from our mistake." The same is true in sports. Athletes use their mistakes to improve their skills.
It might also be helpful to impose consequences when your son acts out. But if that doesn't help him, then you should have him evaluated physically and neurologically to make sure there is nothing medically wrong with him.
DEAR ABBY: I'm an 11-year-old girl, and my mom has a boyfriend who lives with us. Mom said that he comes first in her life. When she told me that, I felt like she didn't love me anymore. He tries to be my father, acts like he owns the house and gets me in deep trouble. I have considered moving in with my dad. What should I do? -- PRETEEN IN FLORIDA
DEAR PRETEEN: Now that your mother has made her priorities clear, I think it is time you discussed this with your father. If he is willing and able to take care of you, you might be better off living with him.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)