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Mom Hopes Fiance Can Be a Buddy to Her Young Son

DEAR ABBY: I am a 47-year-old woman with a 12-year-old son. I met a wonderful man I'll call "Daryl," and we have been dating for about three years. We recently became engaged and are planning to be married this spring.

I have had one concern for a while, and I probably should have already addressed it with him. Daryl is very good about including my son, "Kevin," in almost all of our outings, but he never asks Kevin to do any "guy" things with him. Daryl has grown sons, so it's not like he doesn't know how to do the guy thing. Kevin has never had a father in his life, so he longs for this kind of companionship.

I'm afraid if I bring it up, Daryl may feel compelled to start doing it, but I don't want him to do it only because I said something. I was hoping it was something my fiance might have wanted to do earlier on in the relationship. Should I say something or let it take its course? -- MOM IN ALABAMA

DEAR MOM: Bring it up! Daryl isn't clairvoyant, and he may not realize how much your son longs for a role model. Explain it to him and see how he responds. Your fiance may not have been a hands-on dad with his own sons.

The teen years are an important time, and Daryl still has time to lay the groundwork for a mentoring relationship if he starts showing an interest now. If he waits too long, Kevin may conclude that Daryl doesn't really care about him and thinks he doesn't measure up in some way, which could affect his self-esteem for years to come.

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