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by Abigail Van Buren

Twin Boys Don't Share Same Popularity Among Their Peers

DEAR ABBY: My son "Marshall" is 36. He's handsome, has a great job, is a wonderful son and would be a tremendous "catch." The problem is Marshall has no interest in marriage or even dating. He was in a relationship six or seven years ago that ended badly. Since then, he has decided he doesn't want any woman getting close to him. He hasn't been on a date since.

Marshall spends his time hunting, fishing and playing/watching sports with his single and divorced friends. It doesn't help that the divorced friends tell him he's doing the right thing by staying single, and how they wish they had done the same thing.

Every time I raise the subject, he tells me he's happy with his life and doesn't want to change. How do I get through to him? My husband says we should let him do what he wants because it's his life. But I have trouble accepting that my son wants to stay single the rest of his life. Help! -- PROTECTIVE MOM IN OHIO

DEAR MOM: That's understandable. You come from a generation in which marriage was the norm. However, in the decades since you were married there has been a slow (but steady) erosion in the percentage of Americans who think marriage is important.

Your son may have much to offer, but if he isn't interested in closeness, intimacy and partnership, he probably wouldn't be very good at it. So trust him, love him, and don't push him. Marriage, when it's a good one, is wonderful. But it is no longer a must, and more and more people are concluding it isn't for everyone.