DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been dating for several months. He's fun and caring, and we spend a lot of time together. He's different from other boys I have dated. We can talk to each other about anything.
My only concern is our relationship physically. He makes it very clear that he wants to go all the way with me. He isn't rude or pushy about it. I don't want to rush into anything. We are both virgins (he does have more experience), and while I have known him for a long time, I don't know him as well as I'd like.
I want to wait until we have dated for at least six months. He says he respects my decision and says he doesn't want to pressure me. I still feel a little rushed. All of our friends have had sex, but I don't want it to be about our hormones in the heat of the moment.
I hate saying no to him. I know he won't leave me, but I feel bad for leaving him frustrated. Would it be wrong to agree to having sex with him - something we both want - even if I don't know if we're ready for the next step? - UNSURE IN CANADA
DEAR UNSURE: Yes, it would be wrong. The first time you have sex it should be because you are 100 percent sure you are ready, and he is the right person. If that's not the case, you will be cheating yourself.
And as for feeling guilty because you are leaving him frustrated - I have a solution. Socialize with him in group settings and spend less time alone together. That way there will be less frustration for him and less temptation for both of you.
DEAR ABBY: I am a single mother raising a 15-year-old son. For most of his life it has just been the two of us. I now regret that I put him in bed with me when he was a baby. As he grew older, I encouraged him to sleep in his own bed, but it would last only a few nights, and then he would sneak back into my room.
I was married for three years when he was around 11, and he'd sneak into our bedroom after we were asleep and sleep on a couch there.
His problem is, he is terrified of the dark and believes in ghosts, monsters, etc. He says he has a phobia, and I believe him. I tried getting a dog for him to sleep with and night lights, but nothing worked. If I lock him out, he stays awake all night, scared to death.
I kept thinking he would grow out of this, but he hasn't. Please help. I can't really afford therapy, but if you think he needs it, I will try. - TROUBLED IN ARIZONA
DEAR TROUBLED: Some sessions with a psychologist who specializes in phobias would be the quickest way to help your son overcome his problem.
When you consult with one, I am sure the therapist will recommend that your son stay away from violent video games and movies or television shows that feature ghosts, monsters or anything else that goes "bump" in the night because they could only increase his fears.
DEAR ABBY: I'm different from other girls. I don't wear girly clothes. I prefer dark clothes and makeup. My mom thinks I'm strange because I dress differently. Do you think I look like a freak for not conforming, or is there nothing wrong with being different? - DIFFERENT IN WASHINGTON
DEAR DIFFERENT: I would never call you a "freak" because of your attire. It is common for young people to express their individuality by their dress, hairstyle and makeup. There is, however, a point when a person's style choices can be limiting.
My question for you would be, "Are you getting the kind of attention you want from presenting yourself this way?" The answer should determine how you choose to dress.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles 90069.