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by Abigail Van Buren

National Anthem Deserves Your Hand and Your Heart

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 25-year-old male who, for the most part, has figured out what I want to do with my life. I'm currently working, and I am also considering entering the military to boost my character and resume. I want to eventually become a lawyer so I can help people.

Something that irritates my family is my refusal to date. I suffer from anxiety attacks just at the thought of talking to a woman or asking for a date. My older sister asks me when I will marry, and my dad claims I'd be a great father. How can I get my family to understand that I'm not interested in marriage and children? -- LOVELESS IN THE SOUTHWEST

DEAR LOVELESS: I respect your desire to enter the military, boost your character and resume and earn a law degree. But please don't use the military as a way to escape dealing with your inability to be comfortable with half the human race. If and when you enlist, you will be in a work environment where there are females and situations in which you may be required to work as a team. That's why I strongly suggest that you talk to a mental health professional about your anxiety about women before enlisting.

Marriage and children are not for everyone -- and you may be one of those men who should be a confirmed bachelor. But not because you're afraid of women.