DEAR ABBY: For the last three years I have been dating this girl, "Annie," whom I love very much. We're both 18, and I am starting college in the fall and plan to go into the military.
My problem is that Annie is already talking about marriage and kids. I am now hearing from some of her friends that she's disappointed I haven't given her a promise ring yet. I'm not against giving her one, but I'm not sure I'm mentally prepared for the next step.
I don't want Annie to think I don't care for her, because I do. She is perfect. I just need some advice from someone outside the family. What do you think I should do? -- UNDECIDED
DEAR UNDECIDED: Lay your cards on the table with Annie. Tell her that, although you think she is "perfect," you're not ready to propose -- or even promise that you will. You are about to enter college, but you did not mention what her plans are.
Allow me to offer more advice. You and Annie have been involved since your sophomore year of high school. You would both be better served to continue your education, date others for a while, and grow as individuals before making any lifetime commitments.