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by Abigail Van Buren

Single Mom Wonders When to Introduce Son to Suitors

DEAR ABBY: I'm a single mom to my 10-year-old son. I have dated on and off for six years. My question is, how soon is too soon to introduce male friends who may become boyfriends?

I don't want to scare a guy away, and I also don't want to risk having my son become attached to someone who may not be in the picture long. -- YOUNG IDAHO MOM

DEAR YOUNG MOM: Does your son know you're dating? Do the men you're seeing know you have a child? Any man who would be scared off after learning you have a son isn't for you anyway.

Ten-year-olds today are not as sheltered as they once were. If you are seeing someone regularly, your boy may be curious to meet him. Some women wait until a man is ready to commit before making an introduction. Others wait six months to a year. There are no hard and fast rules. Play it by ear.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a sophomore in high school, and I really like this girl, but there's a problem. I never know what to say to her -- or any girl, for that matter. The right words never come to mind. All my guy friends are what I guess you would call "ladies' men," and I'm tired of everyone else making fun of me.

I have liked this girl for a long time but she's -- how do you say it -- "out of my league." I have seen her turn down guys just like me. What should I do? -- SHY GUY IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR SHY: Start talking to girls in general. Ask questions about school, athletic events, movies or television shows they may have seen. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. You don't need to put yourself on the line by immediately asking anyone out. Just try to get to know them and their interests -- and let them get to know you. If you do, your chances of a girl saying yes when you ask one out will be better.

DEAR ABBY: I have been having an affair for several years. I deeply love this man. I love my husband, too, but in a different way. I don't understand how I can love two men so differently.

The love I feel for my lover is unconditional. When we are together it just feels right. I love my husband because he's a good man and father who would do anything for me. In other words, I love the person he is, but not the man himself.

My lover is younger than I am, and married. He's my best friend and I can confide anything to him. I have met some of his family, and I suspect some of them know about us.

My husband and I tried marriage counseling, but I can't seem to have with him what I have with my lover. I broke off the affair in an attempt to work things out with my husband, but it didn't work. I don't know what else to do. -- TORN IN FREEHOLD, N.J.

DEAR TORN: Because ending your affair and marriage counseling with your husband weren't able to fix what's missing in your marriage, perhaps it's time to call it quits. Your husband has done nothing wrong, and frankly, he deserves something better than half a wife.

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