DEAR ABBY: I'm a 20-year-old college student. I have never dated anyone besides my current boyfriend, "Cody." He's my first-ever boyfriend. I met him in high school, but we ran into each other in college and quickly began a relationship. We're now into our third year together.
We have professed our love for each other. He never said "I love you" to any of his past girlfriends, and I'm happy he said it to me.
My concern is that we talk like we'll be together forever. I think I'd be happy, but should I worry that I'll never know if there may be other guys I feel a stronger connection to? Or if I have enough experience to know what love is? -- JUST THINKING IN FLORIDA
DEAR JUST THINKING: If you're writing to me, you ARE worrying. While for many couples their first love is also their last one, for many others it isn't, which may be why there are so many exes in this world.
My advice is to tell Cody that while you care for him, you feel it would be better for both of you to take a break and see other people. In some cases, it can cement a relationship. In others, it can destroy it. Going that route can be risky, but if either partner is having any doubts, that's the road to take.
DEAR ABBY: My father died last month. He'd had a massive stroke and was incapacitated for the last 10 days of his life and was on life support.
After I arrived at the hospital, I received a call from a woman who informed me that she is my half-sister. It was upsetting, to say the least. Not only was I losing my father, but I never thought he could keep a secret of this magnitude from me. Because I was angry, I wasn't friendly toward her.
Should I initiate a relationship with this woman? I'm 38. My siblings and I were born during my parents' marriage. This woman's mother is someone he had an affair with before, during and after his marriage. I have mixed emotions because I feel loyal to my mother, and I'm devastated by my father's deception regarding this child. -- UPSET IN GEORGIA
DEAR UPSET: I doubt your mother will welcome this person's presence in her life, so at least for now, I think reaching out would be a mistake. Your mother might perceive it as almost as much of a betrayal as your father's was with his girlfriend. Before going further, the question you need to ask yourself is, "Would the benefit outweigh the cost?" Until you can answer that, my advice is to do nothing.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)