DEAR ABBY: I'm 13, and a few weeks ago I met a guy online, got his number and we texted -- a lot. Before I knew it, we were flirting up a storm.
He lives in Tennessee and I'm in Texas. He's the same age as I am, so I don't see anything wrong with liking him, even if he's so far away. We have decided not to date until we have a chance to meet each other in person.
The problem is, I feel like I love him. He doesn't call me "hot," he calls me "gorgeous." He doesn't call me "Babe," he calls me "Angel." He listens to me when I have a problem and gives me sweet advice.
Yes, I know I'm young and love is supposed to come later in life. Yes, it seems shady that I met him online and we have never talked face-to-face. I know I might be mistaking love for infatuation -- I've heard all this before. But I trust this boy to be faithful and supportive of me.
How can I tell if I love him or not? Should I cut off contact with him? Is it OK to feel the way I do? -- TEENAGE GIRL IN A DREAM
DEAR TEENAGE GIRL: I'm all for young love, but before plunging in, I think both parties should know with whom they are having the pleasure. Has it occurred to you that because you met this person online and have never spoken face-to-face that he might not be who he says he is?
The person you have described may not be a teenage boy in Tennessee. He could be an adult man (or woman) anywhere. He doesn't communicate in the language most teens of today use. He doesn't call you "hot," he doesn't call you "Babe." He is using terms that someone much older would use.
Personally, I think you should take a giant step backward until you and a more experienced adult in your life learn more about him. Adults who carry on online romances with 13-year-old girls are called predators for good reason.