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Dear Abby: Engagement secret not set to be shared

Dear Abby: I have been dating my boyfriend, “Derek,” for four years. After a night of emotion-filled discussion, he asked me to marry him. I said yes, but it has always been a difficult idea for me to wrap my head around. I’m turning 21, and although that may be old enough for some people to get married and have kids, it scares the heck out of me. He assured me that we could stay “engaged” for a few years, but it still makes me uneasy. We don’t have a ring yet, and I need a second opinion on whether to wait to tell anyone.

– Cold Feet

Dear Cold Feet: An engagement with no ring and no announcement hardly seems like an engagement at all. That’s why you and Derek should rethink making any announcements until you both feel ready to take such a big step. When the time is right, the idea of marriage and children will make you feel happy, not frightened.

Your fears may be well-founded because you have had little life experience – and once the ball starts rolling, stopping it may be complicated. That’s why you and Derek should remain in a holding pattern until you are more confident about your plans.

Too young for a nose job?

Dear Abby: Although I am not considered bad-looking, I’m not extremely beautiful, either. Guys find my friends prettier than me.

For a few years, I have been thinking about getting a nose job. My parents say I need to wait for all my facial features to adjust to my growing body to prevent facial disfigurement in the future. I think that’s just an excuse. When is the right age to get a nose job?

– Alabama Teen

Dear Teen: This is a question that should be answered by your personal physician. You didn’t state your age, but I don’t think your parents are stalling. According to WebMD, it is very important that before a young person has a nose job the facial bones have reached “adult size.” The usual age for girls’ noses to mature is 15 or 16. (Interestingly, for boys, it is a year or so later.)

Reaching out to half brother

Dear Abby: My father had a son with a woman while he was dating my mother. Mom made Dad choose between her and his son. He chose Mom, and has had no contact with the boy. Dad doesn’t want to interfere with his now-grown son’s life. I, on the other hand, would love to reach out and meet my half brother. Would it be overstepping boundaries if I do this?

Someone’s Sibling in Michigan

Dear Someone’s Sibling: While I might have no objection to you reaching out to your half sibling – because I am not emotionally involved – your mother will feel betrayed and angry. If you decide to move forward, be prepared.